One million signatures against privatization

MANILA – People’s health is not for sale. The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) together with the Health Alliance for Democracy (Head) held a signature campaign against privatization and corporatization of public hospitals Nov 16, Friday.

The health groups urged people to sign anti-privatization petitions at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila, the National Children’s Hospital and Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.

In what they call as National Day of People’s Protests against privatization of public hospitals, various groups are set to storm the Department of Health this Monday, Nov. 19. They will march to Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) to show the people’s protest against privatization and corporatization of government hospitals.

The groups emphasized the people’s right to affordable and accessible health services. But “There will be no more free health services once government hospitals are privatized. Where else will poor Filipinos go when they got sick?” asked Sean Velchez, president of the employees’ union of Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC). The POC is up for bidding this month. Earlier reports pointed to business tycoon Manny Pangilinan is one of the buyers of the said hospital. Pangilinan heads the business conglomerate operating Makati Medical Center, including other strategic businesses in telecoms, tollways, mining, etc.

Already, Velchez said health services are expensive in at least four government-owned and-controlled corporations: such as the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney Transplant Institute and Lung Center of the Philippines.

Velchez said, “We call on our fellow health workers and the people in general to join us on our national day of protest. Let us show this government our opposition to anti-people policies such as privatization.”

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