June 15, 2016
It’s final: Corporate interests triumph over patient welfare
Health Alliance for Democracy denounces the Department of Health's (DOH) deceit in citing "structural defects" as the main reason for the transfer of Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital. In a press briefing last Friday, June 10, Fabella hospital chief Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem declared that the transfer of Fabella is final. He and the DOH continue to dispel the issue of land and corporate interest as the prime reason for Fabella'sabolition.
According to HEAD chairperson Dr. Darby Santiago, "the Old Bilibid Compound (OBC) was a failed investment venture. Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC) bailed out the investors and now owns the land where Fabella stands. To recover these funds, HGC under the direct command of the Office of the President has to sell the OBC to private corporate interests. Fabella hospital is on its way."
"DOH makes it appear that it was the Fabella management and its employees who decided on the transfer through a signature campaign. But it is clear as day: Fabella hospital was left to deteriorate over the years. Capital outlays, if there were any, were not spent on improvement. Neoliberal policies are at work, wherein social services are privatized and government properties are sold to foreign and local private entities for profit. DOH purposely prioritized Fabella's abolition over on-site development precisely because the hospital is standing on land with high real estate value, ripe for the picking of private interests," Dr. Santiago added.
Save Fabella Hospital Movement also stated that the current Fabella hospital has lessened and refused patient admissions. Dr. Ilem meanwhile reiterated that patients will be accommodated by the temporary site at the Lung Center of the Philippines, a mere 50-bed capacity facility. Those who cannot be admitted will be referred to other hospitals like the Philippine General Hospital, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center and San Lazaro Hospital.
"The abolition of Fabella, which will ultimately deprive mothers and their babies of the needed services, is therefore criminal neglect. Thousands of mothers are left with nowhere to go to until the new maternity hospital is completed in 2018. PGH, JRMMC and the other public hospitals mentioned are usually the ones that refer patients to Fabella when they can no longer handle them. Fabella is also the sole referral hospital for maternity cases, yet DOH espoused its abolition," said Dr. Santiago. "The state has repeatedly abandoned its responsibilities in exchange of corporate interests and business enterprises. Fabella as we know it is coming to an end. It will no longer be the maternity hospital that provides affordable and accessible health services for the poor."
The people are also appealing to the Fabella management and DOH's “sense of sensibility and humanitarian approach”. To cater to even more patients, the people are demanding on-site development of Fabella hospital as the construction of the new hospital facility is also ongoing. Despite the statement that the “transfer” of Fabella is final, the Save Fabella Hospital Movement together with other sectors will continue to launch various actions to stop Fabella's abolition. Let us continue to defend the people’s right to health," Dr. Santiago concluded.