Church group rages at ‘scandalous’ Orthopedic privatization

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MANILA, Jan. 13, 2014— If Pope Francis would have a say, he would call the privatization of the country’s only orthopedic hospital as ‘scandalous’, a Church-based group said. 

The Churchpeople Workers Solidarity (CWS) said it would be one of the Aquino administration’s worst legacies if it will pursue the privatization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC). 

“Pope Francis would call it a scandalous situation in the midst of massive poverty in the country,” said Sr. Lydia Lascano, ICM, convenor of CWS. 

According to her, the supposed “modernization” of the government-owned hospitals is a mindset to generate profits for private companies. 

“It is essentially government’s abandonment of its social responsibility to provide public health to the poor people,” she said. 

Last Nov. 21, the National Economic and Development Authority approved the privatization of POC, which the CWS lamented as the “worst gift to Filipino people”. 

The group warned of its “terrifying effects” on the poor, noting that some 450-500 indigent patients avail of free service daily in the POC out-patients department. 

They added that approximately 80-90 percent of hospitalized patients is poor who defend only on free medicines, supplies and procedures available in the hospital. 

“If the POC is privatized, where will the patients go?” Sr. Lascano added. “What will happen to 1,000 health workers who provide very important services to maintain health, cure illnesses and save lives?” 

“We join all people of good will in defending the people’s right to health and in opposing the privatization of POC and other government hospitals in the country.” 

“The coming year will be a challenging one for all of us as we add our strength and voices in the continuing fight against Aquino’s privatization cum Public Private Partnership program,” she said. (CBCPNews)

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