New medical tourism parks open in Philippines

St. Luke’s Medical Center plans to open its second hospital facility in the Metro Manila right at the heart of the country’s newest business district – Fort Bonifacio Global City, by the end of the year. The opening will now be some time in 2010.The new St. Luke’s Hospital will have two towers: a 14-storey, 600-bed hospital building; and a Medical Arts Building that will house 375 doctors’ offices. The hospital will be built on a 1.6-hectare lot with a gross floor area of 154,000 square meters and will be one of the biggest hospitals in Metro Manila in terms of total floor space. The new St. Luke’s Medical Center at Fort Bonifacio Global City is expected to generate 2,700 new jobs for non-medical staff and will bring in about 1,000 doctors, partly from the original facility in Quezon City.

The 650-bed St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City is the most advanced hospital in the country in terms of equipment and technology, professional expertise, range of services, quality of patient care, medical research, and customer service. It receives patients from around Asia, Micronesia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

St. Luke’s at the Fort has successfully been registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as a medical tourism park. It is only the second hospital to do so. PEZA registered medical tourism parks enjoy a host of incentives, including the payment of a special 5-percent tax on gross income, in lieu of all national and local taxes. Additionally, they enjoy four years of income tax holiday on profits solely derived from servicing foreign patients. After the four-year ITH or income tax holiday, the medical tourism parks will just pay a 5-percent gross income tax on income solely derived from servicing foreign patients, in lieu of all national and local taxes. As a PEZA firm, St. Luke’s can also import medical equipment, including spare parts and equipment supplies, duty-free. As a medical tourism centre, it will be allowed to employ foreign nationals subject to existing laws.

The first registered medical tourism park was the St. Frances Cabrini Medical Tourism Park in Batangas City, where the St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center is a clinic for cancer patients and for the Japanese market. In 2007 St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center became the country’s first Medical Tourism Special Economic Zone. This was later confirmed by Philippines Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)- naming St. Cabrini as developer and operator of the country’s first Medical Tourism Park.

Initially conceived to service the health care needs of the more than 8,000 employees of its affiliate company Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Incorporated and other industrial clientele in the vicinity, the need for a modern hospital and the pace of development of the region created a bigger demand and quickly expanded the client base for the medical centre. St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center is owned by the Torres half of the Yazaki-Torres group. Feliciano Torres, president of Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Incorporated (YTMI) is the chairman and CEO.