Lilia Nuño nixes plan to privatize gov’t hospitals PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 2012 14:20

Councilor Lilia Nuño, chairperson of the City Council’s Committee on Health, has expressed objection to a proposed House Bill seeking to  convert the 26 government owned-hospitals, including Zamboanga City Medical Center, into a government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), which many believe will lead to privatization.

In next week’s regular Council session, Nuño said she is sponsoring a resolution asking the two city’s congressional representatives, Maria Isabelle Salazar and Erbie Fabian, to make strong representation in Congress on the sentiments of the poor people of Zamboanga on the proposed privatization of government hospitals by the Aquino administration.

“I am not totally against the plan so long safety measures like socialized program for the poor must be in place first,” Mrs. Nuño said as she cited St. Luke Hospital in Metro Manila, a private health facilities that offers free consultation, medicines, etc, for the first 50 indigent patients a day.

If this plan pushes through,  Nuño said the local government unit should prioritize immediately the improvement of the facilities of the existing primary hospitals in the city like the Quiniput Emergency Hospital and that of the hospital in Barangay Vitali, both in the east coast.

House Bill 6099 was approved by the Aquino-controlled House of Representatives last May 16, and now awaits action by the Senate.

The measure will convert the health care facilities operated directly by the Department of Health into government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) responsible for generating their own funding; the plan would see government subsidies for all but tertiary hospitals gradually eliminated by 2020.

Opposition lawmakers have also complained that the bill’s backers in Congress circumvented regular procedures in hastily presenting the measure for a vote in the full House.

But this plan of the present administration has drawn sharp criticism from political groups, health care workers and pro-poor advocates as a move to further cut services and restrict access to health care for most of the Philippine population. — Jimmy Villaflores