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Opinion

EDITORIAL - No need to privatize VSMMC

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A House bill that seeks to privatize the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center and 25 other government hospitals across the country drew strong criticism from different sectors. Filed by two congressmen, one of whom is from the Visayas, the bill is now the subject of an intense discussion at the committee level.

Cebu fourth district Representative Benhur Salimbangon vowed to strongly oppose the bill during House discussions. For her part, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she is against any move to hand the VSMMC management over to private entity.   

Earlier, partylist Reps. Teddy Casino and Angelo Palmones voiced concerns over the move to privatize the 26 hospitals. Branding it as anti-poor, Casino said he would push for the recall of the bill.

The move to sell the state-run hospitals is aimed to free the national government from the huge cost of subsidizing them. Once the bill becomes a law, the government will not only stand to earn huge profits but would also save billions because it would no longer spend for their operations.

There’s no question that the bill has good intentions of helping this cash-strapped government save some funds in this time of crisis. But, on the other hand, it also helps the poor dig their own graves.

Only fools would believe that a privatized VSMMC, with a status at par with those first-class hospitals, would still be able to cater to the poor. The public can never expect that with the hundreds of millions spent to buy the hospital, the new owner would have the courage to accommodate indigent patients.

Being the biggest government medical facility in this part of the country, the VSMMC was built primarily to cater to those who could not afford a private hospital care. Since it started operating in 1911, it has become the destination of poor patients not only in Cebu but in other provinces as well.

Instead of privatizing it, the government should move for its improvement through modernization. It should consider professionalizing the services at the VSMMC to better serve the Cebuanos. 

A HOUSE

BILL

CEBU

CEBUANOS

GOVERNMENT

GOVERNOR GWENDOLYN GARCIA

REPRESENTATIVE BENHUR SALIMBANGON

TEDDY CASINO AND ANGELO PALMONES

VICENTE SOTTO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER

VISAYAS

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