Solon lauds colleagues for banning privatization of hospitals

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Senior deputy minority leader Buhay Rep.Lito Atienza yesterday hailed his colleagues for approving on 2nd reading House Bill 7437 prohibiting the privatization and corporatization of public hospitals, public health facilities and public health services.
Atienza’s original bill HB 3491 prohibiting the privatization of government hospitals and two other similar bills were consolidated into the current HB 7437.
“We thank our colleagues in the Lower House for supporting this bill. This will stop the alarming and unacceptable trend of big business eyeing the real estate value of strategically-located hospitals,” Atienza said.
“Privatizing our hospitals won’t do anything good, instead of providing service, the primary focus will be making profit– that’s where privatization leads to,” Atienza said, citing the cases of privatizing water and power services in the country.
“This will only aggravate the hardships of the poor,” Atienza said in his sponsorship speech during plenary deliberations on the bill.
Instead of privatizing government hospitals,
Atienza pointed out the national government should instead allocate more funds for improving and modernizing health facilities across the country.
During the period of individual amendments, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman introduced an amendment to include specialty hospitals with separate legislative charters such as the Philippine Heart Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center–which Atienza accepted.
“Most Filipinos who are daily and minimum wage earners cannot possibly afford to get treatment from private hospitals and medical institutions and rely on public hospitals and clinics for their needs. Which is why the privatization of public hospitals would be grossly detrimental to many. Privatizing these hospitals would only benefit the large corporations that would be operating them. Instead of privatizing these hospitals, government should provide funds for the immediate rehabilitation and upgrading of these hospitals, as well as hiring of competent and skilled health professionals to ensure quality health care for the public. Kailangan ng ating mga kababayan ang tulong ng gobyerno,” Atienza said.
“We should strengthen these institutions instead of giving them away to the highest bidder,” he stressed.

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