Saturday, September 21, 2013

Health sector to PNoy: We will never PORKget how the pork barrel system squeezed the life out of every single Filipino

Members of the health sector-led Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement decried the administration’s attempt to cover-up the terminal condition called graft and corruption that gradually kills the nation despite a “new scheme” on pork barrel fund transfers to line agencies. The group said the move is artificial and a mere Band-Aid solution to appease mass discontent on the issue of PDAF.

Dr. Darby Santiago, the movement’s co-convener said that the measly P3.691 billion allotted from the Legislature and Office of the Vice President (OVP) PDAF Realignment to the Department of Health (DOH), what Malacañang dubs as the new scheme, is a “mere crumb” which cannot even be considered as a “slice from the budget pie.”

The amount, he said, is comparable to “giving a crying child a small candy to appease her anguish.” “What the government refuses to recognize is that the child cries because her basic needs aren’t met and a candy is not enough to meet those needs,” Dr. Santiago lamented.

Meanwhile, the group also slammed DOH Secretary Ona’s statements that the new scheme will make fund acquisition in public hospitals “easier and more equitable for the poor.” However, Dr. Santiago repudiated this by saying the new scheme does NOT totally remove legislators’ discretion by submitting recommendation letters to concerned agencies. “The scheme will still perpetuate patronage politics and graft and corruption,” he added.

Dr. Santiago noted that the current public health system under President Aquino and Sec. Ona “will NEVER be easier and equitable because they are hell bent in privatizing public hospitals in favor of big local and foreign investors” such as the sale of the Philippine Orthopedic Center and 25 other public hospitals. Due to lack of funds, other hospitals also face problems that could permanently halt their services such as the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) which was reported to have been facing ‘eviction’ orders if they will not be able to acquire the 3.7 ha property priced at P1.1 B where the hospital stood for 34 years.

The group said that “giving up PDAF in all its forms is such a herculean task for the government because some government officials are using their positions to amass and protect their wealth.”

In conclusion, Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement called for the abolition of the pork barrel system, prosecution and punishment of all conniving congressmen, senators, and other public officials, and re-channel of all pork barrel funds to social services. Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement is a loose formation of health professionals, health workers, health science students and people’s health advocates.##


Dr. Darby Santiago
0927-9259413/ (02)929-8109
Co-convener, Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pork is bad for people’s health

The health sector denounced today Malacañang’s crass attempts to resurrect the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in a different form. Reacting from information that President Aquino ordered the rechanneling of the legislators’ pork barrel to agencies such as the health, education, social work, and the public works departments, the group said this re-allocation “does not remove Congressmen and Senators’ discretion over the amounts to be released and to which sector it will be given.”

PDAF by any other name and by any other form will remain the bailiwick of corruption and endlessly feed a very dirty patronage politics,” said Dr. Delen dela Paz, co-convener of the health sector’s Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement.

The group concluded that the new mechanism is misleading and deceptive. Likewise, the group questioned President Aquino’s moral ascendancy to mouth PDAF abolition when he himself refuses to abolish his own “presidential pork barrel” or the President’s Social Fund (PSF).

The group slammed Malacañang’s argument that the PSF was audited and never misused saying the statements are “utterly pretentious and clearly indicates double standard.” “How can he [President Aquino] stomach such lies? Very recently, the Senate probe revealed that P100 million from the president’s P72.11 billion stimulus funds went to bogus NGOs linked with the pork barrel scam.”

Pork barrel is dangerous to people’s health. Dela Paz cited a research done by Council for Health and Development, an organization of community based health programs in the Philippines, the P10 billion pork barrel scam linked with Janet Napoles could fund:
  • The salary of 16,667 doctors or 33,333 nurses in rural areas for one year.
  • Fund the treatment of 2.5 million Tuberculosis patients.
  • Pay for anti-retroviral treatment of 55,556 HIV/AIDS patients for one year.
  • Treat 1.25 million Dengue patients.
  • Provide vaccines to 12 million babies.
  • Twice the budget for the modernization of the Philippine Orthopedic Center.
“Our call is clear. Abolish the pork barrel system, prosecute all guilty parties including all conniving senators, congressmen, other public officials and bogus NGOs, and allocate pork barrel funds directly to health and other basic social services.”##

Dr. Delen dela Paz
Co-convenor, Rx: Abolish Pork Barrel System! Movement
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