Militant groups lambast lawmaker’s proposal-A A +A
Friday, August 3, 2012
MILITANT organizations staged a protest action on Thursday at a public forum at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos against House Bill 6069, which pushes for the corporatization of government hospital.
The protesters include the Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, Karapatan and other progressive groups.
Sophia Garduce, chief of staff of Gabriela women’s party Representative Emmi de Jesus, said during the forum that Representative Anthony Goloez Jr.’s bill is a cancer to the purse of the poor people because with corporatization, public hospitals will lose their service orientation and profit will now be its direction.
“The poor people will always go to the government in time of sickness and medical needs. With this move, where will the poor go when public hospital will be run by private hands?” Garduce said.
It is expected that when public hospitals are privatized, hospital rates will increase and it will only hurt the poor who can hardly pay, she said.
She said there are 26 tertiary hospitals in the country targeted by the bill for corporatization and four of these are found in the Visayas.
She said corporatization has no other meaning but privatization. It blocks women’s access to health services.
Based on experience in existing government-owned and controlled hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and National Kidney and Transplant Institute, diagnostic procedures are more expensive compared to other public and even private hospitals, she said.
Garduce said it is the primary responsibility of the government to ensure and provide for the health of the people, adding that corporatization will affect health workers’ job security, benefits and rights, and will deprive indigent patients’ access to health services.
Frances Bondoc, Gabriela deputy secretary, said that for the 2013 proposed national budget, P56.8 billion for health services spells a mere P1.69 for each Filipino per day.
Rhodora Badayos, chairman of Samakana Urban Poor, said they are one in pushing for the junking of the bill that will only kill Filipinos, especially the poor.
Garduce said not all poor are eligible to become beneficiaries of PhilHealth indigent program subsidized by the government. Only those who are identified through the National Household Targeting System by the Department of Social Welfare and Development are automatically enrolled in the PhilHealth-sponsored program and can avail themselves of the No Balance Billing (NBB), she said.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Negros Chairperson Alejandro Deoma said that instead of corporatizing public hospitals, the government should increase the budget for public hospitals to spare the poor people from medical expenses.
He pointed out that many organizations are willing to donate to hospitals and even congressmen and senators can allocate part of their pork barrel funds to government hospitals to help the poor.
What is needed is for government to increase the funding for public hospitals so that the poor will get the needed medical services without having to worry about high hospital bills, Deoma said.
Greg Ratin, secretary general of Kilusang Mambubukid ng Pilipinas, said his group opposes the bill because it will clearly lead to the privatization of government hospitals.
This bill will increase the burden of the poor people who even now can hardly afford to pay the hospital bills, he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 03, 2012.