Church groups oppose hospital privatization

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MANILA, July 1, 2013— Two organizations of religious men and men have come out against the government’s plan to privatize public hospitals across the country.

In a joint statement, the Religious Discernment Group and the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary said privatization will affect poor patients and government health workers.

“We join with all people of good will to demand that the Privatization of National Health Services be stopped immediately,” part of the statement reads.

According to them, the government are supposed to protect and promote health of the people.

“Yet, we find the Aquino administration, through its program of privatization of health facilities and services, completely ignoring these legal and moral dictums,” they said.

Privatization, they added, will further weaken the public health care system because it will be run like business.

Public hospitals lacked facilities, medicines and personnel so instead of privatizing it, they said, the government should allocate substantial budget to address the problems.

As the government boasts economic “growth”, some of these gains can be channelled to modernize and improve public health facilities.

“We cannot allow the rights of the poor people for adequate health care to be sacrificed on the altar of profit,” they added.

The religious leaders particularly expressed concern over the planned privatization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC), the country’s only tertiary hospital specializing in bone and trauma cases.

The facility currently serves 450 to 500 patients daily, of which majority are indigent and getting free services.

Instead of increasing the budget so that the POC can maintain and improve its facilities and services, they lamented that the budget for the Center has been cut further.

And now, they said that it will be bid out to a private company.

They also said that the privatization of the hospital is like allowing the people’s right to health to become commodity for profit.

They are also worried over the fate of the 1,000 health workers at the POC since the private owner will “have the freedom to select employees.” (CBCPNews)

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