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ACT Teachers solon urges rejection of privatization of hospitals in 2012 budget

13 September 2011 No Comment

 

 

PRESS RELEASE
September 13, 2011
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio urged Congress to reject the Aquino administration’s proposal to privatize the maintenance and operations of 25 regional public hospitals throughout the country.
He made the call during the House plenary deliberations on the proposed Php 42.07 billion budget of the Department of Health last Monday. An amount of Php 3 billion has been allocated for a Public-Private Partnership Strategic Support Fund for the rehabilitation, maintenance, and operation of the 25 regional hospitals. He further urged colleagues in Congress to realign the funds to additional Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay for the country’s  public hospitals as well as specialty hospitals.

 

“This proposal is odious and reprehensible. There is no place for profit-making when it comes to the right of Filipinos, especially the poor, to quality public health services,” said Tinio.

During interpellation, Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (1st District, Negros Oriental), who was sponsoring the DOH budget, acknowledged that under the proposed PPP scheme, private sector entities would be awarded contracts to maintain and operate the regional hospitals and allowed a Return on Investment of “10 to 12%.”

Tinio noted that the private companies would profit in a  number of ways, such as from the annual payments it would receive from the DOH and particularly from the user fees the operators would charge from patients. “Privatization will inevitably result in higher fees for hospital services.”

Tinio also raised concerns about  the repercussions of the proposed privatization on the personnel of the 25 regional hospitals. “Will there be mass lay-offs or downsizing of the employees when the private sector operator comes in? Will their unions be recognized? Will their collective negotiation agreements and the benefits they provide continue to be respected? Unfortunately, the sponsor was only able to give vague and general assurances regarding these questions.”

“Historically, unequal access to healthcare has been and continues to be one of the most glaring manifestations of the gross inequalities in our society. The best medical care from private providers is available to those who can afford it, while  inadequately funded and poorly resourced public hospitals have been the only option for the majority of the population. With this proposal, which is just one step short of outright privatization, the Aquino administration is poised to make the healthcare gap even wider. We vow to oppose it,” concluded Tinio.

The 25 regional hospitals that the Department of Health plans to privatize are the following: Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Veterans Regional Hospital, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center, Region I Medical Center, Paulino Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Medical Center, Batangas Regional Hospital, Bicol Medical Center (Naga City), Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (Legaspi City), Quezon Memorial Hospital, Jose B. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Western Visayas Medical Center, Samar Provincial Hospital, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Zamboanga City Medical Center, Cotabato Regional and Medical Center, and CARAGA Regional Hospital.#

 

References:
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)

 

 

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