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Estrada’s deadly gamble

We, Alliance of Health Workers members in different hospitals, oppose the plan of Mayor Joseph Estrada to close some city hospitals in Manila, “to lower government expenses and save money.”

This move by the city government of Manila is cruel and heartless. This will negatively affect many poor patients in Manila, who rely on these hospitals for services. Manila’s six city hospitals—namely, Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center, Ospital ng Maynila, Ospital ng Sampaloc, Ospital ng Tondo, Sta. Ana Hospital and Justice Abad Santos Mother and Child Hospital—serve those who cannot afford expensive private health services. Ospital ng Maynila, for instance, serves more than a thousand outpatients per day and accommodates more than 300 inpatients during peak seasons even if its bed capacity is only 300.

If any of these city hospitals will be closed down, city residents who usually lack or even have no means to provide for their basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, would further delay or even stop seeking treatment. This may spell the difference between life and death for most patients.

Closing any of the city hospitals would aggravate the already dismal situation of state-owned hospitals in Manila, such as the Philippine General Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and San Lazaro Hospital.

If Manila, a first-class city and the seat of national government, cannot afford to maintain and provide affordable and accessible health care services for its residents, how much more the second- to sixth-class cities, municipalities and provinces?

This dismal lack of funding for and staffing of public hospitals, as well as the lack of hospital infrastructure and facilities, is the result of continuing neglect and misprioritization by the national government. Instead of addressing the grave lack of funds, the national government is devolving and privatizing health services to the detriment of the public.

Public hospitals are built primarily to serve the public. The government, national and local, is duty-bound to ensure that free, affordable and accessible public health services are provided the people. Public hospitals should be improved and developed by the government to better serve the people.

Adequate funding, not closure, will make our public hospitals more relevant and responsive to the needs of the people. Unless the national or the local government has the political will to really provide the people with adequate, free, affordable and accessible health services, health for all will remain as it was and as it is now: an elusive dream.

—JOSSEL I. EBESATE, RN, president, Alliance of Health Workers, ahwphil@yahoo.com


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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=57707

  • nes911

    Pag ginamit ang pondo ng city hall para imaintain ang services ng manila hospitals sa bawat distrito, mawawalan o mababawasan ang kupit nila erap kaya gusto nila ipasara ang ilan sa mga ito.

  • clanwolf

    It’s time for such tough love. Better to close so many hospitals but upgrade the identified ones. Poorly funded hospitals help no one except cost overhead expenses. If you want to keep these hospitals open, ask the national government. Tax money should help taxpayers first.

  • Ganymede

    But there is no fund to speak off. Now, if you guys really care for the poor, perhaps you could do volunteer work (yup.. no salary) while the city gov’t still can’t afford to give funding.

    • raptor_d_lonewolf

      if there is no fund as what you have said, how can the govt give funding? yup they can do voluntary work but how about the medicine who’s gonna buy them, remember you said ” no fund to speak off”.

  • ConnieLee90

    Once again the ax falls on the have-nots who unfortunately do not have the resources to fight back to keep the already meager but essential public service. Estrada should start weeding out non-essential (dead wood) personnel at City Hall and put city officials on furlough to cut expenses. Since Estrada is a very wealthy man, he himself should opt out altogether from receiving his salary as mayor. But to close public hospitals to save money is truly heartless. I don’t how much more blood this unfeeling mayor would try to wring out of the poor.

  • Luthmar

    Whatever happened to “Erap para sa mahirap” slogan of Erap. Why is it that when the government lacks funding it is the Health and Education sectors that first get hacked. The better solution is for our crooked politicians to moderate their greed. There will be more than enough money to help the poor and no government funding sectors will suffer.

    • desi derata

      Probably, he just don’t care.

      Stupid is, stupid does (Forest Gump)

      Manilans voted for him, they should find justification for choosing this immoral person.

  • Mario Salazar

    Bossing, binakapan kita dahil alam kong nagpupursigi kang palitan ang imahe mo. Kaya lang puro sablay ang mga pinaggagawa mo. Una, ban the Bus, ngayon, bawasan ang hospital. Ano ba boss? Baka may assistant ka riyan na ginagago ka. Better choose your advisers. They are damaging your reputation as a good administrator.

    • desi derata

      Si Isko Moreno po ba ang isa sa mga iyon?

  • tadasolo

    That is the problem with politicians like estrada as soon as they are elected the first they do is hurt the poor. Estrada should instead request his two senator kids to give the pork barrel and used it for the hospitals

  • juan de la cruz

    Estrada just found out that he need to get his investment back from election spending by cutting out services to the city. He have to recover it as early as possible as he see no point to recover it in long term.

    Manila you get your own medicine by voting these idiots.

    You never learn, Estrada is just a mess.

  • Olibo

    One of the most vital services a government should build and maintain is healthcare facility like hospital and medical center. Manila will become so obvious third world capital city. Poor people are now turning to quack doctors and self-medication due to high cost of hospitalization, expect the worst if hospitals are shut down.



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