Palace: No plan to privatize govt hospitals

Posted at 07/22/12 9:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang on Sunday tried to allay concerns over plans to privatize government-owned hospitals.

This, after Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said last Friday that he would lead riots and protests against bills that would seek the privatization of government hospitals.

But Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda denied of such a plan.

“There has been a misnomer. Hindi po ipa-privatize ang government hospitals,” he said in an interview on Radyo ng Bayan.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño earlier warned that House Bill No. 6069, or an Act Creating National Government Hospital Corporations, and Senate Bill No. 3110, or the National Government Hospital Corporate Restructuring Act, could lead to the privatization of government hospitals.

But Lacierda explained that the plan was for government hospitals to be set up as “juridical” entities.

“Hindi po 'yan privatization po. Tulad ng PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), it is a juridical entity. Hindi po siya private po, government pa rin po 'yan. Hindi po gagawing private hospitals po ang mga government hospitals.,” he said.

Bacolod Rep. Anthony Golez, who authored House Bill No. 6069, had earlier explained that his bill only aims to give government hospitals fiscal autonomy and allow them to engage in income-generating activities.

Fears over the supposed plans to privatize government hospitals come amid concerns over the Department of Health plan to close down charity wards in government hospitals.

“Siguro kasabay rin ito 'nung paniniwalang wala na po ang charity wards,” Lacierda said on Sunday. “Inuulit ko lang po, the PhilHealth wards will cover all beneficiaries, all enrollees po. Kung kayo po ay isang PhilHealth beneficiary, 'pag pumunta po kayo sa isang government hospital, wala po kayong babayaran.”