Where will the poor go once government hospitals are privatized through outright sale, corporatization, or public-private partnerships?
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.comMANILA – Eduardo Basas, 58, has been traveling from his province in Samar to the Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) in Banaue in Quezon City since 1993, afterhe was hit by a 10-wheeler truck in Borac, Eastern Samar.He is accompanied by his wife Merly, 51. The POC is the only government hospital in the country that mainly caters to patients with orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions. Eduardo and Merly joined the hundreds of patients and health workers who protested, October 25, against the planned sale of the said hospital. They were drenched by the rain but that did not deter them from pushing through with the protest action.
The October 25 protest action was not confined to the POC. Health workers from five government hospitalsin the National Capital Region – the Philippine Orthopedic Center, National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), Philippine Heart Center (PHC), Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC), and Philippine General Hospital (PGH) – as well as those in Davao City and the Baguio General Hospital simultaneously held protest actions against the privatization of government hospitals during their lunch break from 12 noon to 1 p.m..
According Sean Velchez, president of the POC employees union, the health workers did not abandontheir posts because they went out during their break time. He also said that some health workers even asked for a change in their shifts just to attend the protest action.