HEALTH workers from government specialty hospitals protested the P1-billion budget cut on Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) of all hospitals being run by Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCC).

“We, health workers are resentful and enraged with the Duterte government because in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and health crisis, it has the gall to reduce the budget for the MOOE of four GOCC hospitals by P1 billion. This government is inhumane and has no compassion for the health and lives of the people, especially the vagrants and destitute who cannot afford to pay heavily for their hospitalization,” said Robert Mendoza, Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) National President, during a noonday protest. 

The Philippine Children’s Medical Center suffered the biggest budget cut with P891 million, followed by the Lung Center of the Philippines with P100 million, Philippine Heart Center with P28 million, and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, P8 million.

They noted that the MOOE budget reduction would mean “no available medicines and medical supplies, insufficient payment for salaries of contractual health workers and no budget for the Collective Negotiation Agreement incentives to unionized health workers.

Hence, patients could expect higher fees for laboratory procedures and room rates as part of the income- generation scheme of these hospitals, AHW said.

They stressed that the decreased MOOE budget in  GOCC hospitals is very alarming, since this budget is meant to help indigent patients.

With the budget cut, many indigent patients will now be sent away and deprived of the medical services of these hospitals.

The AHW also challenged senators to take a stand for the good of the majority of the Filipino people and for the health workers’ safety, protection, rights and welfare. 

No need to worry

Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire, for her part, assured health workers of GOCC hospitals that there is no need to worry.

“We are appealing, I think alam po ng ating medical center chiefs na nag-aapila ang DOH ngayon para sa karagdagang MOOE ng ating mga specialty hospitals [the medical center chiefs know that the DOH is already appealing now for an additional MOOE for our specialty hospitals] not just for them but also all our hospitals,” Vergeire said in an online forum.

Vergeire added they were able to talk to lawmakers about the problem. “They were very supportive and they are aware that our hospitals are in need of additional budget,” she added.





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