A GROUP of health workers on Saturday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s announced plan to allocate the earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for his administration’s health programs.
“We are expressing hope na ang mga pronouncements ni Pangulong Duterte ay mag-luluwal ng meaningful change sa health care delivery system. It is a positive development na ilalaan nya ang pera ng Pagcor sa health,” said Alliance of Health Workers spokesperson Sean Herbert Velchez.
Velchez, a registered nurse, said that they were happy to hear that Duterte included health as one of his priority agenda and is making true to his promise that he made during the campaign period.
He added that new Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial should come out with a clear stand on people’s right to health to ensure that no form of “corporatization,” or privatization of healthcare will push through under her leadership.
“We challenge Secretary Ubial to stand for the people’s right to health and to trash all form of privatization of health care,” Velchez said, adding that it would be good if Ubial makes random visits to government hospitals to have clearer picture of their conditions.
“If she comes from the public health sector, she should know the plight of hopsitals under local government units. Some LGUs lack hospitals so many patients go to regional hospitals under the DoH even for simple cases, like child-birth,” he said.
He said that is one of the reasons why Fabella Hospital in Manila is preferred by many mothers and families who cannot afford the cost in lying-in clinics.
He further said that corporatization was something being feared because it could lead to a greater burden on the part of the patients and only those who could afford could pay the resulting high cost of health services.
Under the administration of former President Benigno S. Aquino III, public-private partnerships involving hospitals were planned but failed to push through after the government realized its impact on the poor.
As a result, the privatization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center and Philippine Children Medical Center was halted.
The fear on privatization of Fabella was also allayed by former Health Secretary Jeanette Garin before she stepped down and she made it clear that she wanted to be remembered as a Health secretary who exerted effort in controlling the privatization of government hospitals.
Garin even said in her last press briefing that government hospitals should not even be included in PPP projects.
According to Garin’s accomplishment report, the DoH spent P40.7 billion for Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) services in 2015, a leap from the P26.8 billion in 2014.
Spending for the Health Facilities Program was 32 percent higher than in 2014. Similar improvements in utilizing the budget was also seen in the Expanded Program on Immunization and Family Health and Responsible Parenting. P240 million was spent by the Commission on Population for their RPRH activities.
POPCOM reached 599,310 clients through 55,493 Barangay RPRH classes. They also reached 117,583 couples through their Pre-Marriage Counselling (PMC), as well as 25,063 clients through the Usapan Serye program.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth reimbursed P10.14 billion to pay for 992,442 women who gave birth in a facility—an increase from 736,707 in 2014, worth P7.64 billion in claims.
The 2015 Accomplishment Report also highlighted progress in key areas, such as the increase in the number of women using birth control pills. The report also listed that out of 1.5 million live births in 2015, 1.2 million were covered by the DOH.
The DOH also procured anti-retroviral drugs worth P220 million in 2015, to be delivered this year to benefit the 15,000 people living with HIV. Free testing services nationwide are also current available.
Part of the funds were also allocated to help implement the Magna Carta of Women, with 87% of 42,029 barangays already equipped with a Violence Against Women (VAW) help desk.
To help implement the RPRH Law, development partners and civil society organizations additionally spent P5.92 billion and P238 million respectively.
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