PCCAI: The Strong Pillars of CGHMC


Von Erick P. Valerio, R.N.


(First of a Two-Part Series)


The Chinese General Hospital stands unique among the hospitals of the country. It is one of the oldest hospitals of the land, being founded in the Spanish times. It was founded purely from charity donations of well-meaning Chinese immigrants. And it has steadily grown in excellence, fame and service in its existence.

One key to the hospital’s success is the backing of a strong association - the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc. (PCCAI).

The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC) is one of the two major institutions that is owned and managed by the PCCAI. Like the counterpart, Chinese Memorial Cemetery, it was also borne out of dire necessity. In the late 19th century, when the Chinese Immigrants in Manila grew and tripled in numbers, it brought with it a huge problem of managing the healthcare of the immigrants by the leaders of the Chinese community (Comunidad De Chinos). The Chinese Community leaders were in a quandary as to what to do, since the Spanish authority do not allow the Chinese immigrants to be cared for in their Spanish hospitals.

This predicament was however resolved when a kind-hearted prominent Chinese, Don Carlos Palanca, was appointed “Capitan” of the Chinese community in 1891. He decided to launch a fund-raising campaign among the Chinese in the community, and happily netted 30 thousand pesos which was a big amount at that time. With the fund, he was able to establish a makeshift nipa hospital to take care of the medical needs of the Chinese immigrants in Manila for free.

Late in 1917, the leaders of the Chinese community, concerned with the overcrowding of the hospital, took on another fund drive for the expansion of the hospital building and for acquisition of additional and more modern hospital equipments. The expanded hospital also included a nursing school, and dormitories of doctors and nurses. The whole project was completed in 4 years.

By 1921, the new hospital was inaugurated with Dr. Tee Han Kee as its first medical director. Undoubtedly, the most famous Chinese physician at that time, Dr. Tee Han Kee also served as consultant for the Philippine Health Service because of his expertise on bubonic plague. In the same year, Dr. Tee Han Kee founded the Chinese General Hospital School of Nursing and saw to it that the CGH became one of the most modern hospitals in the country.

The hospital operation was progressing very well until 1941 when the 2nd World War broke out. The Japanese war planes practically destroyed the entire City of Manila including the Chinese General Hospital to a rubble and beyond repair.

After the war, the Chinese Community reconvened and Dr. Antonio Nubla was appointed director with Dr. Manuel Chua Chiaco as assistant director. In 1946, Mr. Go Chong Beng called for the immediate rehabilitation of the hospital by the Chinese Community.

The Board of the Comunidad De Chinos finally decided to build a completely new hospital with provision of a separate Charity Ward Pavilion, through the efforts of Mr. Go Kim Pah, at the site of the old hospital.

By 1950, memories of the war slowly faded and a refurbished CGH was inaugurated with up-to-date facilities. In the same year, Dr. Pedro Mayuga, Director of the Philippine Bureau of Medical Services of the Department of Health, approved the hospital for training and teaching. Well known consultants assisted in the hospital's activities including Drs. Luis Guerrero, Antonio G. Sison, Jose Albert, Florencio Quintos, Rosendo R. Llamas, and Fortunato Guerrero.

Through the wholehearted cooperation and concerted efforts of all the Past Presidents of the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc. and the Medical Directors of the hospital, the new Chinese General Hospital was established and later grew progressively well providing better services not only to the Chinese but also to the general public without racial discrimination. However, despite the expanded bed capacity and services, the hospital found itself to be always short of bed spaces and facility to cope with increasing demand.

Then President Ferdinand Marcos lauded the work of the CGH and the PCCAI saying, "It is my hope that you will continue in your splendid task, giving aid and comfort to every human being, as you have done for nearly a century, regardless of creed, race, nationality or personal persuasion."

In 1966, PCCAI President Dee K. Chiong and his new Board, planned and later constructed a new seven-storey Hospital Complex across the street facing the old hospital. Again, with the kind support of the more affluent Chinese Community leaders and members, the Chinese Community leaders and members, the project was inaugurated in 1969 at a cost of Ten Million pesos. The new modern hospital building was provided with centralized air conditioning and fully equipped with the latest state of the art medical facilities. It was also provided with 8 Operating Rooms, 6 Delivery Rooms, a Medical Laboratory, a Radiology Department equipped with high intensity X-ray machine, Image Intensifier complete with rapid cassette changer, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and a Section of Nuclear Medicine. This building has its own 3 passenger and 2 service elevators. Together with the new medical equipment and new compliment of multidisciplinary Medical Staff, the new hospital became one of the country’s top tertiary medical centers.

In 1981, Don Vicente Dy Sun, Sr., who has been the hospital administrator during the presidency of Mr. Dee K. Chiong, took over the helm of the presidency of the association and took cognizant of the need for the hospital to expand. He was able to convince the Board of Directors to build a 3-floor Annex Building connected at the back of the main hospital to house the urgently needed self-contained Emergency Department in the ground floor, having its own X-Ray machine and OPD Operating Room. Connecting the main first floor was the new OPD doctor’s offices and provided on the second floor with more patient’s ward and private rooms.

Few years later, because of the perennial shortage of patient beds, another adjacent hospital building expansion was started on a 2,000 square meters lot connecting the main hospital to a new L-shaped 6-storey building.

This New Annex Building (commonly referred to as New Building) is connected to the Main Building at the 1st and 2nd storey level with an enclosed overpass. It has centralized air conditioning and has its own two elevators and a small lobby.

The ground floor of this New Building houses more doctor’s OPD clinics. The first floor houses the new expanded Radiology Department, CT Scan, Ultrasound and the new computerized Laboratory. The second floor was exclusively used for Surgical, Neurological, Medical and Coronary Intensive Care Units. The third (OB-Gyne), fourth (Surgical), fifth and sixth (Medical / Pediatrics) floors served as the expanded patient’s wards, private rooms and suite rooms with their corresponding Nursing Stations on each floor.

When Dr. James G. Dy, assumed the Presidency of the PCCAI in 1988, he continued the ongoing improvement and expansion with more vigor and set special attention on making the management system more efficient, effective and responsive to the need of providing quality medical services to the general public. His hands-on personal attention in upgrading the hospital attracted more highly foreign-trained medical specialists to join the Medical Staff. From the time when Dr. James G. Dy assumed office, this started an era of expansion, computerization and updating of medical equipments and appliances in every department.


(To be continued in next issue.)