Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Davao Medical Center

Davao Medical Center

Davao Medical Center is one of those many places in Davao City that I am familiar with and very sentimental about it. And I cannot think of Davao without associating DMC with the city. This (of all places!) is where I actually conveyed my love and proposed to my wife, Grace, immediately after she was pronounced out of danger and on her way to complete recovery by the attending doctors after fighting for her life following a massive loss of blood in May 1999. DMC is also where my lovely daughter, Jamie, now 11 years old, was born a year later in July 2000 for a sum of 1,500 pesos or so only! Have I kept a personal diary, DMC would have contained and occupied a great number of pages.

Davao Medical Center, now called the Southern Philippines Medical Center is the biggest government, tertiary hospital not only in Davao City but in the entire Region XI, or perhaps in the whole of Mindanao. DMC may be a provincial hospital but its medical technology, facilities, and services are at par with the country's bests and more expensive hospitals the likes of Makati Medical Center, St. Lukes, or Medical City. In fact, medical cases where other private hospitals in Davao City cannot handle, patients are brought to DMC for treatment.

View of DMC from another angle

Here, hundreds of patients from all over Mindanao flock everyday to DMC for medical treatment. Since DMC is a government hospital, patients who are unable to afford medical assistance and services in private hospitals come to DMC. While the services are not totally free, the cost of hospitalization is at its lowest rate. I know of some friends of mine in Davao City whose families are wealthy and yet sought medical treatment in DMC purposely to avail of the cheapest rate. Even now I cannot help but chuckle each time I recall with fondness how my rich friends clad in humble apparel, pretending to be poor and out of money haggling at the hospital cashier. Their stories and alibis, fantastic and oftentimes hilarious as they may sound, were enough to convince the doubting lady behind the glass counter to process their requests and give them a discounted cost which eventually amounted to only a few hundreds of pesos! After discharge, my friends would go straight to the hospital parking lot and board their expensive SUVs. 

The Davao Medical Center grounds

DMC is designated as a government hospital under the Department of Health of the Republic of the Philippines and now sits on a 12.8 hectare government property along J.P. Laurel Avenue in Bajada, Davao City. It was established in 1917 as the Davao Public Hospital with only a 25 bed capacity in San Pedro Street. In 1946, the hospital was renamed Davao General Hospital with an increased  capacity of about 200 beds. In 1957, the hospital relocated to its current location at J.P. Laurel Avenue. It was later renamed Davao Regional Medical and Training Center by virtue of the Republic Act. 1859.

Davao Public Hospital in the 1930s

During the martial law years and the conflict between the MNLF/MILF/NPA and the government, the hospital became a major trauma center, and in view of DMC's utmost importance in health care delivery, the Department of Health eventually issued Administrative Order 157 designating it as the medical center for Mindanao and Sulu. 

Davao Mental Hospital

In 1986, the Davao Mental Hospital, which was previously an extension of the National Center for Mental Health, was transferred to DMC. At that time, the hospital was renamed the Davao Medical Center and the bed capacity was increased to 600. The name Davao Regional Hospital and Training Center was then transferred to the then Davao del Norte Provincial Hospital.

Davao Medical Center at present

On November 19, 2009, by virtue of the Republic Act 9792, Davao Medical Center is now named Southern Philippines Medical Center. DMC doubled its bed capacity from 600 to 1,200 bed placing the hospital in the Top 10 largest government hospital in the country. The Act also draws for more upgraded medical facilities and additional manpower or plantilla to serve not only Davao region but the entire Southern Philippines as the name implies.

Viewed from J.P. Laurel Avenue in Bajada, Davao City

In 2007, DMC undergone complete renovation and upgrade of facilities. It was also at this time that the Mindanao Heart Center was established.  DMC not only caters to Davao residents but as far as Surigao and Zamboanga peninsula, and is continually expanding and improving, providing research and trainings not only to local physicians but to foreign physicians as well as part of the medical tourism program where they can share their expertise and knowledge to the local medical community.

The Orthopedics Ward has also undergone major renovation and upgrade to accommodate more patients and is now considered the largest orthopedic facility outside of Metro Manila. DMC's main lobby and hallways have also undergone major face-lift to give it a more modern and cleaner look befitting DMC's role as the flagship government hospital in Mindanao.

JICA Building

DMC operates the Mindanao Burn Center which has a bed capacity of 25 patients and is considered the largest and most modern burn facility in the country equipped with brand new equipment and facilities that include an intensive care unit, an operating room, two dressing rooms, and five regular rooms; the four-storey JICA Building where the Out Patient Department is housed as well as the Laboratory and X-Ray Departments; the Pay Ward; the home-setting Birthing Center; the Mindanao Heart Center; the newly-improved Emergency Room Complex which is considered one of the country's largest and the most modern in Mindanao capable of holding almost a l00 patients at a time; and a 24-hour Pharmacy which has been modernized and expanded into two sections: one for in-house patients who go through a socialized billing process, and a pay pharmacy known as the Murang Gamot sa DMC (cheap medicine), selling high quality but low-cost drugs and medicine to the general public. The Mindanao Burn Center is manned by nursing and paramedical staffers who are experts in burn care and management. Its consultants are trained in the United States. 

Isolation Building

DMC opened its Isolation Building to accommodate suspected cases of AH1N1 virus in Davao City and neighboring provinces. 

Note that DMC is the only government hospital on the above list where PhilHealth’s funds are concentrated. The local government of Davao City also provides for those indigent patients who do not have the means and capacity to afford any of the medical services through the "LINGAP PARA SA MAHIRAP" program. 

Historical Milestone of Davao Medical Center

1917 to 1919 DAVAO PUBLIC HOSPITAL was established by a Special Act of the Philippine Legislature in a 2.2 hectares lot donated by Mr. Juna Villa-Abrille at J. P. Laurel Avenue. The hospital has a bed capacity of 25.

1918 - Served as "Sick Ward" set up by the District Engineer's Office for the care and treatment of laborers known as "Sakadas".

1932 - Construction of annex pavilion for additional 10 beds for pay patients.

December 1941 – Japanese Imperial Army commandeered the Davao Public Hospital.

1942 to 1945 - An emergency hospital was set up at St. Peter’s Elementary School building behind the present San Pedro Cathedral.

May 1945 - The Davao Public Hospital became the 25th Station Hospital of the American Armed Forces for about six months.

August 23, 1945 - A temporary hospital for civilians was put up at the old Philippine Constabulary (PC Barracks) at downtown Davao City.

Late 1945 - The Davao Public Hospital was returned to the civilians.

1946 -  Davao Public Hospital was rehabilitated through the Rehabilitation Act.

1948 to 1950 - It became a National Hospital and was renamed DAVAO GENERAL HOSPITAL with an authorized capacity of 200 beds.

June 22, 1957 - The Davao General Hospital became the DAVAO REGIONAL MEDICAL AND TRAINING CENTER by virtue of Republic Act 1859 through the initiative of Dr. Manuel P. Babao and Congressman Ismael Veloso.

September 24, 1957 - Cornerstone laying of a new building by President Carlos P. Garcia.

November 28, 1958 - Department of Health Order No. 100, Series of 1958, designated Davao General Hospital as a Training Hospital. The objective of such order is to assist in the training of physicians, nurses, and midwives, who will become future asset to pilot the health destiny of the country.

June 24 to October 4, 1960 - A total of one million pesos was released by the President of the Republic of the Philippines in order to commence the work of the long projected 3 Million Davao Regional Medical and Training Center at Bajada, Davao City, the establishment of which has been authorized under Republic Act no. 1859.

July 18, 1960 - The Out-Patient Clinic was organized in compliance with Department Order No. 163, series of 1960.

January 3, 1961 - The Medical Social Service started, the day Medical Social Worker reported to duty. 

February 11, 1961 - Ground breaking ceremony at the Medical Center site for the Regional Hospital for Nervous Diseases was done.

April 7, 1961 - A pilot plant, the "Limb and Brace" shop was established.

December 12, 1964 - The DRMTC was inaugurated in the 12.8 hectare site at Bajada, Davao City with the cost of P 3.5 million with an authorized capacity of 350 beds.

May 1966 - The Davao Regional Medical and Training Center became fully operational after completing the transfer of all its patients and equipment from the old Davao General Hospital.

June 3, 1966 - A batch of 198 mental patients were shipped from the National Mental Hospital of Mandaluyong, Rizal and were treated at the old Hospital building. With them were some staff who helped run the hospital. Admission of new patients from the different provinces of Mindanao have also been started.

The supervision of the mental unit at the old Davao General Hospital as well as the existing Nervous Disease Pavilion in Bajada was placed under the Davao Regional Medical and Training Center by the Secretary of Health. The personnel sent by the National Mental Hospital later went back to Manila after two months of months stay.

December 8, 1970 - DRMTC officially became the Medical Center for Mindanao and Sulu through the Administrative Order No. 157 of the Department of Health, belonging to the highest category of government hospitals.

September 13, 1977 - The Supreme Court finally ruled that the 12.8 hectare hospital site contested by private parties legally belonged to the Davao Medical Center.

Contact Information

J.P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada
Davao City, Philippines
Tels (082) 227-2731


  1. This blog is too interesting I really enjoy this blog. Thought of the writer is surprising we can get much information about related topic. Keep continue make this type of blog.

  2. hello good morning,,iam Vanessa Lenogon of American Accent Training for Call center agent,,We are very much interesting to visit your institution specially the Burn Center if We are givin a chance,and bring some help and donation for the patient if you will allowed us..if yes pls contact me in this number and give me some info about there needs and how many patient do you have.. 0949-9225184


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