Military hospital in Sulu gets Duterte's promised upgrade

MANILA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Ricardo Visaya inaugurated last week the newly renovated military hospital in Sulu, a fulfillment of President Rodrigo Duterte's promise in September

Camp General Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital, a 65-bed capacity facility, primarily attends to soldiers fighting terrorist groups in the southernmost islands of Mindanao. 

"The fulfillment of this dream of having a hospital in Sulu did not come easy. It faced financial challenges, among others. This is why we are grateful to the AFP leadership, to the Commander in Chief, and to San Miguel Foundation, Incorporated for their gracious donation of ambulances, equipment, and other hospital implements," said Brigadier General Mariano Mejia, the Surgeon General of the AFP and concurrent Commanding General of the AFP Medical Center. 

Visaya said the hospital is testimony to the "enduring partnership between the military, local government, and public and private corporations." 

The hospital started as a trauma center in 2007. It can now accommodate injured or sick military personnel, their dependents, and even civilians.

The hospital's inauguration came months after the military launched an all-out offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) on the island, deploying more than 8,000 soldiers to the province to wipe out the group.

Last August, 15 soldiers were killed in an ASG attack in the town of Patikul.

The hospital's capabilities now include the following:

The hospital was named after the late Army Brigadier General Teodulfo Bautista, who was killed by members of the Moro National Liberation Front in 1977, when he chose to meet with them – unarmed – in Patikul to discuss a possible ceasefire.

His son, former AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista, was the guest of honor and speaker at the inauguration of the newly renovated hospital. Bautista is now executive director of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace. 

"If only my father were alive, he would have been very happy for the operation of this hospital. Our gratitude goes to all of you who made this project possible. Indeed, the death of Brigadier General Teodulfo Bautista and his men on that fateful day is an act of supreme sacrifice for our people. And this hospital embodies the same spirit of treating our soldiers and our people from the wounds of conflict," Bautista said. – Rappler.com