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DOH asking DOJ for help to transfer NCMH patients facing criminal raps

The Department of Health (DOH) has sought the help of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to decongest a pavilion at the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) for patients facing criminal charges, officer in charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.

Vergeire said some patients, who have been treated and already well to face charges in court, have yet to be transferred from the hospital.

The DOH OIC the remark at a news conference after Senator Raffy Tulfo filed proposed Senate Resolution 562, urging the Senate Committee on Health and Demography to look into the “poor condition” of the facilities at the NCMH.

She said Tulfo might have specifically pertained to a congested pavilion for those with pending criminal cases.

“This pavilion has been built to house only around 300 patients. Unfortunately, because through the years, nagkaro'n tayo ng congestion dahil ‘yung ibang mga pasyente na ready na sila and competent na sila, nagamot na sila, and ready to face already their charges sa court, ay hindi pa ho nae-endorse, hindi pa nakukuha sa atin ng BJMP para bumalik sila doon sa kanila talagang dapat puntahan,” Vergeire said at a press conference.

(Unfortunately, it got congested through the years because the other patients who are now competent, treated, and ready to face their charges in court, have yet to be endorsed and taken by the BJMP.)

“Ngayon, nakikipag-ugnayan tayo sa DOJ para matulungan tayo so that we could decongest this pavilion,” she added.

(Now, we are coordinating with the DOJ so they can us and decongest this pavilion.)

She said the DOH was also building a new pavilion to address patient congestion. Phase one of the project is set to be finished by April, while the second phase awaits funding from the 2024 national budget.

Citing reports and concerns, Tulfo said the “poor condition” of the facilities of the country’s premier mental health institution “ may affect the recovery of patients and pose hazards to their health and safety.”

Vergeire said there were now improvements at the NCMH, with the DOH investing in the institution steadily through the years.

“‘Yun nga lang s'yempre, kapag tinignan natin sa kabuuan, meron tayong iba’t ibang mga challenges within the system of the National Center for Mental Health,” she said.

(If we look at it as a whole, we have various challenges within the system of the National Center for Mental Health.)

The Health official also said the DOH was open to an investigation as regards the issue. 

“We are open to the investigation, and we are trying to improve the situation and of course ‘yung convenience po ng ating mga pasyente doon [the convenience of our patients there]," Vergeire said. —NB, GMA Integrated News