Bacolod Rep. Anthony Rolando Golez Jr. has challenged Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Councilor Em Ang to a debate on House Bill 6060 that would convert government hospitals into corporations.
In an interview over Aksyon Radyo, Golez said nowhere in the bill can one find the word privatization so he is wondering where they got it.
“We should not put political color to the proposed corporatization of government hospitals,” he said.
Asked for his reaction, Leonardia said no amount of debate will change the issue, because what is clear is that “Whether you call it privatization or corporatization, the bottom line is that it will mean more expensive self-service and deprivation of the poor of health benefits.”
Golez said that as a medical doctor, he knows what is best for a hospital as he had once worked with the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital and saw its condition.
The CLMMRH is one of the 26 government hospitals being targeted by H.B. 6069 for “corporatization”.
House Bill 6069 authored by Golez and co-authored by (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) Rep. Alfredo Marañon III, intends to convert public hospitals into government-owned and controlled corporations and turn them into independent money-making entities responsible for generating their own funding.
Leonardia also said it must be noted that he is not the only one opposing the bill because even the governor, the vice mayor and members of the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod, the City Council of Zamboanga and several militant groups, who have thoroughly studied the bill, are also opposing it.
He said Bayan Muna Partlist Rep. Teddy Casiño had been quoted as saying that, based on experience, procedures and diagnostic procedures at government-owned and controlled (GOCC) hospitals like the Philippine Heart Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, among others, are more expensive compared to other public and even private hospitals.
Leonardia said he (Golez) should stop playing with words and deceive people as he used to do while he was yet the spokesperson of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, or people will start calling him “congressman deception.”
“I expect that as more people realize what this is all about, there will be more who will oppose the bill, especially the urban poor,” he said.
Bayan Muna Partylist and Gabriela Partylist led other militants organizations in staging a picket Friday to oppose the bill while Golez was holding a public consultation on the matter at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos where the solon hired disc jockeys as moderators.
Alejandro Deoma, Bayan Muna Partylist-Negros chairman, gave the public consultation a grade of 3 from a scale of one to 10, saying the reactors where given a limited time to present their concerns, while Golez did most of the talking.
Deoma said that, unlike other public consultations he had attended, Golez made the reactors speak first before he presented his bill. He should have presented his bill first and then listen to the comments and sentiments of the public, he added.
Deoma said Golez should also conduct public hearings in all affected areas (where the 25 other government hospitals are found).
He said that, based on the Oxford dictionary, to corporatize means to convert a state organization into an independent commercial company, contrary to the claims of Golez that privatization and corporatization are not the same.
When a hospital will be corporatized, the private investor will certainly think of making profit, he said.
“We believe that basic services in hospitals should be spared from business,” Deoma said. If government wants to improve services and facilities of hospitals, it should increase the budget of these institutions since the people are paying taxes, he said.
Deoma said they are asking Golez to pull out H.B. 6069 and that the people should send a petition letter to their congressmen regarding their stand or sentiment on the bill.
He said the bill was filed on March 28, 2012 but was heard and approved after just a single hearing on May 16.*CGS