New Health Care Commission secretary sets three-point agenda

Posted By: Chris Costuya On:

MANILA, May 11, 2011—Fr. Marcelo Pamintuan, MI, the new executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC), has vowed to form a network among local churches across the country, to conduct formation for health care workers, and to tap government and private sectors in the cause.

Pamintuan, who assumed post last April 1, aimed to revitalize and promote the Health Care commission all over the country.

Together with Bishop Patricio Buzon, SDB, chairperson of ECHC, Pamintuan formed an ad hoc committee before his appointment as the executive secretary of ECHC to review and analyze the background and situation of the commission.

“We had some seminar workshops thrice and some religious persons from other congregations were invited like the Hospital of Brothers, Sisters of Charity, Daughter of Benedictine, dioceses from Biliran, and some lay persons,” Pamintuan said.

The ad hoc committee came up with a decision to talk about the matters regarding ECHC, if not rehash the commission.

The Committee revised the vision and mission of the commission, which Pamintuan said has a bigger scope.

He said that the old vision and mission only focused along the side of the handicaps. With a new one in place, it aims to expand and promote the commission on health care among dioceses and parishes in the country.

To intensify the involvement of local churches, Pamintuan said that the first thing that they will do is to conduct a survey and go around dioceses to see if there is an existing health care program in each of them.

“This was the first thing that was discussed. Do all dioceses have their own Health Care commission? We go down the level of diocese and parishes. If there is diocesan health care and parochial health care. We will do some kind of survey,” he said.

He said that he will build a networking structure wherein the ECHC will be at the top and will oversee health care services that they aim to implement in local dioceses and parishes.

“When you go to the level of ECHC you have a lot to do. So how will you handle that? So we go down the level of dioceses and parishes. So it looks like a networking,” he explained.

He added that they plan to run a pilot test in a diocese somewhere in Luzon first before they implement any changes to other dioceses.

“We should focus their first and boost its health care commission. Let’s see if it turns out to be okay and if it is, then it is time we share it to other dioceses. It’s part of seeing what could be effective in the process of promoting the health care commission. It should be gradual, let’s not be abrupt,” he said.

They also plan to have a formation for the health care workers who are already doing a great of job of helping the sick.

He said that they would like to gather all health care workers who are focusing in helping the HSED, which is a Hebrew word meaning “compassion” that stands for the handicap, the sick, the elderly, and the dying.

Pamintuan said that this formation shall intensify the commitment of health care workers and show them the importance of their worthy cause to the sick and all the people concerned.

“[ECHC] is not about us doing the work, [but] it’s about supporting others and encouraging others to be sensitive in this kind of Health Care ministries,” he said.

Soft transition

Pamintuan shared that Buzon, who appointed him to the post, asked him to take the position last January 1, but he deferred and moved it to April 1 because he said he needed some time.

“Bishop Buzon appointed me executive secretary on January 1. But I said I needed time, so I said let’s make it April 1. There was a soft transition. I started april 1. Although the letter Bishop Buzon sent me was dated for January 1,” he said.
Pamintuan had already been involved with the ad hoc committee that started around August of last year. He replaced Fr. Luke Moortgat, CICM, who had served as executive secretary from 1993, and who is now the program director of the commission.

Prior to his appointment, he served as the director of St. Camillus Hospital in Davao Oriental from 2001 to 2010. (Brylle B. Tabora)

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