Velches added that the previous PPP in government hospitals paved the way for private diagnostic and laboratory companies, private clinics and other private medical services to operate different hospital services, charging exorbitant fees that squeeze out hard earned money from patients in public hospitals. It also deprive those who cannot afford of these services.
The government also plans to remove all subsidies in maintenance and personnel of public hospitals by year 2020, Velches said. “These measures further diminish the role of the Department of Health in provision of health services and ultimately reneging in its duty to provide services to the people.”
According to Velches, at present, government hospitals are increasing its fees, like the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), which has been charging even indigent patients. The Philippine Orthopedic Center has increased fees for laboratory and x-ray by 100 to 200 percent.
“This is shifting government’s responsibility in providing services to the patients and their families. The net effect is the same if the government hospitals are sold, transferred and managed for profit by private big businesses,” said Ian Mostrales, a nurse and convener of the network.
Meanwhile, Emma Manuel of the AHW call on health workers to once again unite and fight to stop the sale of NCMH. Citing the historical struggle of health workers against the planned sale of NCMH, Manuel said, if they are united, they will once again win the struggle.
The government’s effort to sell Welfareville started since the regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos, when RA 5260 was signed into law. It created and authorized a trustee committee to sell Welfareville. In 1994, then president Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 156 to also sell the 74 hectares of the 110 hectares of Welfareville through public bidding. In 2003, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once again ordered the sale of Welfareville . All attempts to auction off Welfareville failed because of the massive protest and opposition of health workers and residents of Welfareville.
The Coalition Against the Sale of NCMH and Welfareville Property, comprised of health workers, patients and residents of Welfareville, was formed also in 2003.
“Only three months from now before the public bidding of Welfareville property starts. Let us once again show the force of our unity and stop this plan of the government that will only benefit the few,” Manuel said in the protest action.