TACLOBAN CITY- From an almost in a state of disrepair due to supertyphoon Yolanda, the Tacloban City Hospital (TCH) now looks like a hotel.

This after the said city government-run health facility was repaired and refurbished by the SM Foundation, a massive work that took place six months after Tacloban was pummeled by supertyphoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013.

And in the words of rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, the newly-rehabilitated TCH, is an example not only to “build back better but faster and safer.”

The TCH, composed of three buildings, was ravaged by Yolanda which resulted for it to temporarily shut down its operations and serving the medical needs of the city residents.

With the repair, the hospital’s bed capacity was increased to 100 from its previous 50. The TCH, located along Marasbaras District, was founded on January 16, 1970 with a 100 daily patients.

Lacson joined officials of the SM Foundation on August 27 during a turn over rites. The SM officials were led by Teresita Sy-Coson,vice chairperson of the SM Investments Corp; Debbie Sy, executive director of SM Foundation and Connie Angeles, executive director for health and medical programs, among other officials of the foundation.

“This is the best hospital I’ve ever seen that looks nice inside and out. This is a fine example of not only building back better but safer and faster,” Lacson said.

The TCH was the first structures owned by the city government destroyed during the onslaught of Yolanda to be repaired.

Aside from rebuilding the health facility, the SM Foundation also constructed a malnutrition ward; a prayer room and expanded its emergency room and a wellness center for children and elderly named as Felicidad T.Sy Wellness Center for Children and Elderly.

The foundation spent P20 million for the repair of the TCH which started last April and finished last July.

Hospital equipment were also provided by the foundation making now the TCH as a second level health facility as it is now capable to conduct major operations like ceasarian operations.

Sy-Coson said that they are just happy to be involved in the repair of the TCH as they were aware that it serves the medical needs of the people of Tacloban, considered the ground zero of Yolanda.

The TCH was just among the structures, mostly health facilities and schools, that were damaged along the Yolanda corridors that was funded and repaired by the SM Foundation at a cost of P100 million.

Dr. Joedina Gumagay, chief of hospital, said that she could not express enough her gratitude to the SM Foundation for the help it extended to the facility.

After the hospital sustained major damages during the onslaught of Yolanda, she thought that it would take a longer time before they could operate.

Mayor Romualdez thanked the SM Foundation for their generosity in rebuilding the hospital.

“More than building the infrastructure better, this helps strengthens the character of people,” Romualdez said.