The Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) has provided poor Filipino children with subsidized quality medical treatment for decades. In 2012, more than 70,000 children from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, benefitted from their services, and the number is growing each year. It has also been an effective training ground for pediatric specialists such as pediatric oncologists. It is one of just three level 4 training hospitals in the country, the others being UP-PGH and UST Hospital.
Its Pediatric Cancer and Hematology Center has been a boon to children with cancer, and their families who otherwise could not afford the necessary care and treatment. Every year 3,500 children are afflicted with cancer, which is now the 4th leading cause of total child deaths in the country. As the biggest tertiary child care center under the Department of Health, we believe the PCMC merits priority in financial and other support from the national government. This is obviously one institution where we want, and hope, public funds should go. Not to pockets of unscrupulous politicos but to badly, even desperately needed social services for all Filipinos.
To our dismay, newspapers recently reported that the NHA is pressing PCMC for P1.1B as payment for the lot that it now occupies. Worse, NHA seems bent on evicting the PCMC from its location altogether. The PCMC lot used to measure 6.3 hectares but was reduced to 3.7 hectares when NHA gave 2.6 hectares to the Office of the Ombudsman and Court of Tax Appeals. It has also sold another portion of the lot to the Philippine Institute of Development Studies or PIDS for P86M.
Recently NHA expressed an opinion that the children’s hospital should be relocated to a high rise building in a mere 2,500 square meter-lot. Dunning the PCMC and pressuring it to pay P1.1B may well be NHA’s tactic to achieve this, a below the belt blow against the well being of tens of thousands of Filipino children.
Since 1980, the PCMC has been pleading with the National Government to donate that amount and transfer the title of the property to the hospital. It is after all a government hospital and not a profit-making institution, with a clear mandate to provide total health care to children, especially those from poor families. The appeal has remained unheard and unheeded by past five presidents, while public funds have been channelled to the pockets of corrupt public officials, their families and their accomplices. It is also puzzling why government has seen fit to subsidize the purchase of the sites of other institutions such as the NKTI and Lung Center, but not PCMC, a hospital for KIDS!
We the people, the ‘Boss’ strongly urge President Benigno Simeon Aquino to ensure that the PCMC continues to remain where it has stood for decades to provide competent, comprehensive and devoted health care to the present and future generations of Filipino children.
Stop NHA from dunning the PCMC and selling pieces of the PCMC site. Execute a Deed of Donation in favour of the PCMC. Spend public funds for our benefit, for the children’s benefit.
We further express our strong opposition to the continuing privatization of health services and facilities that puts quality health care beyond the reach of the ordinary Filipino. Health care is after all a right, and government must act, with dispatch, to ensure that that right is realized now.