Palace: Hospital privatization to improve healthcare

Posted at 02/04/14 7:53 PM

MANILA -- Malacañang on Tuesday said the government is "tapping the support of the private sector" for the upgrading of the facilities of the Philippine Orthopedic Center to "improve the delivery of universal healthcare" to the people.

Presidential Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the government, mindful of its duty to provide affordable and accessible health services, will modernize the hospital without seeding or selling the hospital to the private sector.

"It will reduce dependency on the national subsidy for its operational needs and move towards an efficient and effective fiscal discipline that will support the hospital's operational needs," Coloma said.

"Government shall protect the welfare of the employees of the center while implementing this project," he added.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc, together with indigent patients and some health professionals, have filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the privatization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center.

The P6-billion contract to upgrade the hospital was awarded in December last year to Megawide-World Citi Consortium, the same group that won 3 other Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

Petitioners fear the privatization would jack up hospital rates.

But Health Secretary Enrique Ona insisted the entry of the private sector would mean better hospital services. -- Report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News