Group says PPP to lay poor Filipinos in graveyards

URBAN poor groups and health workers gathered outside the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI)along East Avenue in Quezon City to protest the Pre-Bid Conference for the Modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

MPOC is a priority Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project of the Aquino administration. Worth P5.69B, it aims to build a 700-bed capacity super-specialty tertiary orthopedic hospital within the NKTI compound. Upon the awarding of its contract to winning bidder, the new orthopedic hospital will be run by private concessionaires for 25 years.

While hundreds of POC health workers will lose benefits and job security, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) claims that the privatization of the said hospital under Aquino’s flagship economic program PPP shall lay its poor patients in their graveyards.

“Once the POC has been privatized, privatization of other government hospitals will follow,” said Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson.

Massacre of the poor

“We are angered that the government has given so much privilege to foreign and local businessmen as it deprives poor Filipinos access to basic social services,” expressed Arellano.

“The privatization of the health care system in the Philippines will effect to a gradual massacre of indigent patients who won’t be able cope up with the gargantuan increase in costs of medical services,” the leader claimed citing a data from the Alliance of Health Workers that says 7 out 10 poor patients die without receiving any medical attention from our hospitals.

Mere propaganda

Kadamay blamed no less than President Aquino for letting private entities to enter and invest in the country’s health care system.

“The urban poor clearly knows that his Daang Matuwid is just a bluff. And the Philippine forcasted economic prosperity is a mere propaganda to expedite the privatization of public services in the country.

“Today, we condemn the Aquino government for conniving with business magnates as Manny Pangilinan who plans to build a medical empire making health services available only for those who can afford it,” she said.

Aside from the POC, 26 other public hospitals are bound to be privatized by the passage of HB 6069 and 6125 in the Lower House, and SB in the Senate.

Won’t be easy

Meanwhile, the group also claims that the implementation of neoliberal privatization schemes in the country has long been delayed under the Aquino administration who will enter into its midterm this May.

“It will not be easy for Aquino, the World Bank, and foreign investors and their local counterparts to privatize the health system in the country,” said Arellano.

“We vow to launch bigger and more militant protests in the months to come ahead of the planned construction of the new orthopedic center by January 2014,” warned the urban poor leader.

After the protest along East Avenue, Kadamay members marched to the PPP Center which they pelt with rotten tomatoes. Urban poor protesters nearly broke the gate of the said establishment along EDSA.

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