, NOVEMBER 9, 2006 (STAR) SPYBIZ By S.A. Maguire T- Readers’ reactions to a column item entitled "Far from world class" (Nov. 7 issue) was unanimous: Unlike that Quezon City hospital with a pretentious sounding name, the Philippines has a number of medical institutions that are fit to be called world class, foremost of which is St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. It has state-of-the-art technology, top of the line facilities and Centers of Excellence that are unparalleled in the country. It is the first –and so far the only one – in the Philippines to be accredited by the prestigious healthcare accreditation body Joint Commission International (JCI) which makes it truly at par with the best in the world. No wonder St. Luke’s is the hospital of choice by GMA and top honchos in business and other industries. Other readers pointed out that well-worth mentioning are Cardinal Santos Medical Center in Greenhills whose staff excel in specialized care such as cardiology, preventive medicine, among others. Readers also cited Asian Hospital in Alabang, the first major private tertiary hospital in the southern Luzon corridor whose décor reminds one of a five-star hotel. St. Luke’s and these other hospitals are certainly a far cry from that certain hospital located near the Cubao area which was the subject of complaints from patients.

A tribute to Kapamilya’s ‘Kapitan’

Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III led the launching of a book (at the ABS-CBN compound’s ELJ Building ) about his late father Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr., who founded "Kapamilya" network ABS-CBN. The book, authored by Raul Rodrigo, offers a glimpse of the man beyond the name, and tells how he and a tightly knit group of kindred spirits made his dream for the country’s biggest network come true in the face of great odds. "ABS-CBN was my baby. I gave my all to ABS-CBN," Geny Lopez had said. With Freddie Garcia back in the ABS-CBN fold after his retirement in 2003, the Kapamilya network is all set to establish its supremacy in the television industry today. During the launch, ABS-CBN Foundation managing director Gina Lopez – who’s in the thick of a fight to save the La Mesa watershed with her Bantay Kalikasan – recalled that her father was also an environmentalist like her. Geny once said that, "One of the advantages of being successful in the business is the opportunity it presents to render public service without being in public office. That is the reason we look for businesses that touch the everyday lives of many Filipinos as possible, wherever they may be." Interestingly, the book is entitled Kapitan, which was the nickname by which ABS-CBN employees used to call Geny Lopez. PAL’s Lucio Tan is also well known as "Kapitan," so will he soon be launching a similar biography entitled "Geny"? Both Lucio Tan and Geny Lopez are captains of their own industries, rightfully called "Kapitan" by people who admire them.

Illegal gambling joint

Business seems to be thriving for the operators of a "sakla" (card game) joint at this barangay in Malabon. A few weeks back, some enterprising people set up a cards table and a tent purportedly to raise money for the funeral of someone from the neighborhood – a ploy often resorted to by illegal gambling operators. The dead man has long been buried six feet under but the operators seem bent to make the card joint a permanent fixture in the neighborhood. Malabon authorities must be really blind not to notice the illegal gambling joint – which is located in front of two beer houses and is ironically about 30 meters away from a Methodist church.

Feedback: Excessive transfer fees

Readers sent in reactions to a column item on a DTI administrative order prohibiting the imposition of additional charges on credit card purchases ("Six months in jail for retailers imposing extra fees," Oct. 31, 2006 issue), urging legislators to look into the excessive transfer fees charged by remittance providers (courier companies, money transfer agencies). As much as 13.6 percent is charged, or P408 for every P3,000 sent. What’s unfortunate about it is that those who often utilize these "padala" services are household help with a measly pay of P2,500 a month, as well as other "promdi" Pinoys who can’t afford to maintain ATM or passbook accounts, or are sending in areas where ATM facilities are still unheard of to this day.

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