Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Workers Hit Arroyo Regime’s Neglect of Overdue PGH Bills, Privatization of Health Service

8 September 2009

Workers hit Arroyo regime’s neglect of overdue PGH bills, privatization of health service

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno slammed the Arroyo regime’s neglect of public health service as Philippine General Hospital (PGH) faces threat of closure due to unpaid electricity and water bills worth more than P150 million.

In a short program in front of PGH today, KMU blamed the ballooning debt of PGH on the government’s measly spending on social services and warned against moves that will privatize the hospital.

“By putting the operations of PGH in danger, the Arroyo regime is also endangering the lives of many poor Filipinos who risk losing access to affordable healthcare in a country where most hospitals are privatized,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“This regime truly has the guts to enjoy dinner worth millions of pesos even as workers and the people scramble for limited and deteriorating public healthcare which needs sufficient funding,” he added.

Labog also criticized Department of Health Sec. Francisco Duque’s spending on advertisements despite the overdue financial woes of public hospitals.

PGH is struggling to pay around P127 million in electricity bills to Manila Electric Company and at least P32 million to Maynilad. And amid dwindling funds from the government, efforts to sell the public hospital to businesses piece by piece are already in place with the lease of the PGH’s Faculty Medical Arts Building to a private entity.

“Privatizing PGH will not solve the glaring deficiencies of the hospital, much less fulfill the purpose of providing healthcare. It will only render health service as more inaccessible to the poor while corporations make tidy profits from healthcare needs of millions of Filipinos,” said Labog.

“We could not afford to lose PGH to the private sector. We protest the ‘piecemeal privatization’ that PGH undertakes and urge the Arroyo regime to allocate more funds to social services like health instead of embarking on more pump-priming measures which do not directly benefit the poor,” he added. #

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU Chairperson, 0929-629-3234

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