Monday, November 25, 2013

Orthopedic hospital privatization: Hospital workers hit further injustice to typhoon survivors

Dubbing the approval of the modernization of Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) as "done like a thief in the night", indignant hospital workers held protest action today in Quezon City against the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Boards's approval of POC 'modernization' project.

"Sobra-sobrang kawalang puso at inhustisya ito para sa mamamayang Pilipino. Habang lahat ng tao abala sa pagtulong sa mga survivors ng Typhoon Yolanda, at nagdurusa ang mga kababayan natin sa napakabagal sa relief efforts ng gobyerno, nagpapakaabala pala ang pamahalaang Aquino sa pagsasapribado ng ating ospital! Anong klaseng pamahalaan ang gagawa ng ganito sa ating mamamayan?" stressed Ricardo Antonio, Public Relations Officer of the National Orthopedic Hospital Workers' Union - Alliance of Health Workers (NOHWU-AHW).

Antonio claimed the privatization of the only public orthopedic hospital in the country will affect typhoon Yolanda survivors and all poor Filipinos who depend on POC for treatment. The health workers opposed the POC public-private partnership project as it displace several hundreds of poor patients who are depending on the free services presently provided by POC. The 700-bed orthopedic hospital to be built by the winning private investor-bidder inside the National Kidney and Transplant Institute compound will only provide 70 beds for indigent patients based on bid documents released by the Department of Health.

POC hospital workers earlier trooped to the NEDA office in Pasig on November 13 based on news reports of NEDA Board meeting. In an appeal letter addressed to NEDA Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan, the health workers urged Balisacan and the NEDA Board "to have a heart for the poor, especially during this difficult and trying not allowing the approval of the 'modernization project' of the POC".

The NEDA Board headed by President Benigno Aquino III approved the P5.6B 'modernization' of POC along with six other major projects during the NEDA Board meeting on November 21.

Ricardo Antonio
Public Relations Officer
National Orthopedic Hospital Workers' Union - Alliance of Health Workers (NOHWU-AHW)