Workers slam bidding for new orthopedic hospital

LABOR center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the public bidding for the construction and operation of the Philippine Orthopedic Center which started last Sunday, saying the Aquino government is depriving workers and the poor of much-needed health services.

Bid documents for the P5.6-billion project, which was approved by Pres. Benigno Aquino last Sept. 8 as part of his government’s Public-Private Partnership program, were made available last Sunday and will be available until Feb. 25, 2013.

“Contrary to its claims, the Aquino government is clearly privatizing the country’s public hospitals. It is showing just how uncaring it is for workers and the poor who depend on these hospitals for health care,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“It is showing just how compassionate it is towards big capitalists who want to earn big profits by selling an essential service to poor people. Workers and poor people stand to lose much from the privatization of public hospitals,” he added.

The project involves the construction and operation of a 700-bed hospital inside the compound of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, and is one of three PPP projects that are in the advanced stage of being bid out.

“The government cannot deceive the people with promises that service will improve when the hospitals are made private. They know that privatization means bigger hospitalization bills and greater suffering,” Labog said.

“Even at present, workers and the poor tend to delay going to the hospital just to avoid hospitalization costs. Things will definitely get worse the moment public hospitals are privatized and patients are made to pay for health services on top of the taxes they pay to the government,” he added.

“Health is a basic right and need of the Filipino people. It can only be enjoyed as a right if the government subsidizes the provision of health services,” he said.

The labor leader cited Article II, Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution which states that “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people…”

He also cited the Charter’s Article XIII, Section 11 which states that The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost.”

“Privatizing public hospitals goes against the people’s right to health and the Constitution’s provision stating that the State has to provide the people with affordable health services. We will fight until this evil scheme is junked,” Labog said.

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