Stockholm syndrome in pork-A A +A
Friday, September 27, 2013
THE victim of Stockholm syndrome could have been Dr. Julius Drilon, head of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH).
To his credit, Dr. Drilon refused to identify the survival of the CLMMRH to pork barrel even if the hospital benefited from that of his brother Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Francis Escudero, Teofisto “TJ” Guingona lll, Ralph Recto, Antonio Trillanes, IV, Ramon Revilla Jr., former Senator Manny Villar, and Congress people and party-lists.
He said that senatorial and congressional P15 million pork barrels subsidize the regional hospital to defray for the poor’s medical needs of indigent patients and the operating expenditures of the hospital.
Stories of the poor unable to foot their medical bills are legion and admittedly true. But who says the money has to come from legislators?
In fact, pork barrel could hold hostage such public institutions as state hospitals. And like kidnapped victims suffering from Stockholm syndrome, Dr. Drilon and other public health professionals might identify themselves with their captors in unconscious act of self-preservation.
Like hostages, they view every act of perceived kindness from their captors as heaven-sent. With the public outrage, our state doctors, like in classic cases of captivity, would understandably defend and care their captors even after they get the opportunity to escape from pork barrel.
When faced with the possibility of pork barrel being cut off from legislators, Dr. Drilon shudders at the thought that CLMMRH will have to shoulder the expenses. “We cannot deny the patients whether there is PDAF or not,” he argued.
CLMMRH caters to around 600 to 650 patients a day or 5,000 in-patients and 5,000 out-patients a month. In-patients are 37,000 to 38,000 a year.
If there is PDAF, the budget can still be used to purchase medical equipment, medicines, among others, he added. Without PDAF, the increased DOH budget could provide CLMMRH with the same benefits.
The beeline for medical support would rightly go to DOH and other local executive units. In this case, from Representative Evelio Leonardia to Bacolod executive Mayor Monico Puentevella.
Sans politicking, this is the logical step for the medically-challenged poor. In fact, denying patients’ right on public health care shouldn’t even be an issue. The question is what branch of the state which agency provides them these benefits. Congress or the executive?
I have the highest regard for our government doctors and other public health professionals. They could earn more as private practitioners but instead chose the public sector to help the least of our brethren.
Any reforms on the national budget should delineate the dividing lines on the three co-equal branches of the government, with funds for execution of government programs such as public health care going to the executive branch.
Why the pork barrel allocated by the budget department to implementing agencies under the lawmakers’ names instead of the executive stump me. After all, under the principle of co-equal branches, Congress proposes, the executive disposes.
No, not the poor, not the CLMMRH public health professionals, certainly not Dr. Drilon should never succumbed to the Stockhold syndrome of pork barrel.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 27, 2013.