Public hospital workers in Manila troop to DOH

HEALTH Workers from Tondo Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center and Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital held protest rally at DOH this October 9, noontime to register their strong opposition to the ongoing corporatization/privatization of the government hospitals and to demand immediate release of their hazard pay.

“This is clearly an abandonment of P’noys administration of its responsibility to people’s health,” Emma Manuel laments. “Public health institutions and services are being privatized despite the prevailing poverty among the Filipinos. The 26 public hospitals up for corporatization are catering mainly for the poor patients. Where will these patients go?” she said further.

The group vehemently oppose the gradual takeover of public health facilities and services by the private business. At Jose Reyes, radiologic services are controlled by Himex. In Tondo Medical Center, HiPrecision operates the laboratory. At San Lazaro, Fastmedics Corporation which specializes on respirator or ventilator is going to operate soon.

San Lazaro is the country’s prime hospital for infectious diseases. It is up both for Public-Private Partnership program of the Aquino administration and for corporatization. It is included in the 26 public hospitals for corporatization. Jose Reyes, the DOH flagship hospital is among the 26 included in the corporatization bills. Fabella, a maternal and newborn tertiary hospital will be converted into a center for beauty and enhancement for women.

“Privatization of public health facilities and services is among the biggest threat to the majority Filipinos who cannot afford the fees at private hospitals. Health becomes a privilege rather than a right,” Emma conluded.

Additional problem of health workers is their unreleased hazard pay which is affected by the reclassification of DOH and DBM of hazard into high and low risk. Those classified as low risk will result to diminution of their benefits which violates the Joint Resolution no. 4 provision regarding benefits under the Magna Carta for Public Health Workers.

The health workers vowed to hold series of protest actions nationwide against privatization.

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