Low budget, neglect cripple POC
The Philippine Orthopedic Center (POC) community is alarmed by the cutting of our hospital’s budget for 2017. According to documents obtained from the Department of Budget and Management and the Department of Health, the POC’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) will suffer a massive 44-percent reduction—from P153 million in 2016 to P85 million in 2017, or by P68 million.
The MOOE is the source of funding in the procurement of medicine for our patients, as well as of materials for casting fractured bones and deformed limbs. Aside from that, it is used to pay the hospital’s electricity, water and telephone bills, and the salaries of security and janitorial personnel.
Our hospital has long suffered from government neglect and outright abandonment. Ours was the first hospital set to be privatized by the previous regime, but thanks to the brave resistance of people, that attempt was thwarted.
Given that small yet significant victory, we still face the same problems like dilapidated buildings and lack of medicines and materials to adequately address the needs of our patients.
We cannot afford a budget cut.
We ask the House of Representatives to give us at least the same amount of MOOE for 2017 as we had in 2016.
We are asking President Duterte to make true his promise of change, especially to improve the lives of poor Filipinos, including the sick who are dependent solely on public hospitals like the POC for their medical needs.
The POC serves a unique role in our country’s healthcare delivery system as the only specialty hospital for musculo-skeletal injuries and diseases; it is the premiere rehabilitation medicine center in the Philippines.
We join other public hospitals in protesting the unjust, antipoor hospital budget cuts. Thus, in concert with other hospitals, we are calling the attention of the public, the members of Congress and the President himself to correct this fatal budget reduction spree on the POC and other hospitals.
Please do not cripple us with budget cuts and neglect. Keep the POC as a publicly run, publicly funded healthcare institution that is modern and accessible to all Filipinos, regardless of their capacity to pay.
SEAN HERBERT G. VELCHEZ, RN, president, National Orthopedic Hospital Workers Union-Alliance of Health Workers, [email protected]
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