House okays bill vs. privatization of public hospitals

MANILAThe House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading a measure prohibiting the privatization of all public hospitals in the country.

Voting 218-0, members of the lower chamber approved House Bill 7437, otherwise known as the "Anti-Privatization of Public Hospitals, Health Facilities and Health Services Act."

Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, principal author of the bill, said the measure aims to protect the right to health of Filipinos, especially the poor, by maintaining and upholding the public character of government hospitals and by prohibiting any form of their privatization.

"Health care must be made accessible, affordable, and appropriate to the needs of the people. Public hospitals, as part of the public health care delivery system, must be fully developed and strengthened by the government, not privatized," Zarate said following the bill's passage.

Under the bill, at least 90 percent of the total bed capacity of all public hospitals should be allotted to indigent patients.

The bill also seeks to penalize violators of the proposed act with a fine ranging from PHP100,000 to PHP800,000 and even removal from public office of responsible officials.

"We hope that its Senate counterpart will also be fast-tracked so that it would be enacted into law before the year ends so that more Filipinos would have access to health care," Zarate said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency