[Statement] Prioritize Children’s Right to Health Now. Enhance PCMC Services, Stop NHA Institutional Greed. -PAHRA

Prioritize Children’s Right to Health Now.
Enhance PCMC Services, Stop NHA Institutional Greed.

Photo by CATWAP

Photo by CATWAP

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child
to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health
and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health.
States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child
is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.

Convention on Rights of the Child. Article 24

The Aquino Government has another opportunity to assert and confirm its paradigm shift to the primacy of human rights in its governance and development implementation. This means that the branches of government and the offices under the Executive should work together ensuring the maximum implementation of citizens’ human rights. No branch or any office should be allowed, much less act with impunity, to violate any right implemented by another government body.

While there is no hierarchy of rights, it could prioritize those which should benefit particularly the poor, vulnerable and the marginalized. The opportune moment is to prioritize our children’s right to health by enhancing the services and not diminishing the needed space for development of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

While the Philippine government had projected itself in the international community as child-friendly by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), one of its agencies, the National Housing Authority (NHA) had systematically eroded the capability of the country’s premier hospital for poor and sick children by taking pieces of PCMC land.

Surely, NHA officials are not bereft of knowledge that PCMC is the smallest and under-budgeted hospital compared to the other government-subsidized Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center and the NKTI. If they cared at all for the country’s poor and sick children, they would have known of the diminishing budget allotted to PCMC since the Arroyo administration. Certainly, this is not judicious distribution of public funds for the citizens’ enjoyment of their rights. This is discriminatory of the poor and sick children and of a perceived “unprofitable” government institution.

While part of the state, NHA fails to see its obligation of properly housing poor and sick children, much less the interrelationship of a right to housing to the right to health. Greed does give a tunnel vision only for unmitigated profit. And even children can be sacrificed on the altar of financial gain. And, if not corrected, such selfish taint would tarnish the whole Aquino administration.

And to think that after government excuses itself of being unable to deliver the basic services to the poor, vulnerable and the marginalized due to “insufficient funds”, there are some Php 72 B “savings” for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to distribute to politicians of Napoles-ian appetite for “pork” through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). PCMC with its growing clientele of poor and sick children, in the meantime, is being squeeze for more “fat”.

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) recognizes that for a children’s hospital to ensure total healing, it needs open spaces, gardens, trees. Furthermore, the demand for services, according to PCMC’s Director Julius Lecciones, is increasing. From only 4,000 inpatients a year, it now provides care to more than 11,000 inpatients in the same period, plus 70,000 out patients. Some 60% of its patients get subsidized care ranging from 100% to 25%. Still, subsidized patients only manage to pay 30% of their bills. The number of subsidized patients is rising by 25% each year.

As articulated in the Declaration of the World Summit on Children, “Enhancement of children’s health and nutrition is a first duty [of governments]…The well being of children requires political action at the highest level….”

Thus, PAHRA calls on

President Aquino to wipe out PCMC’s rental debt burden
and to donate the land to PCMC;

The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS)
not to buy any part of PCMC land.

Prioritize Children’s Right to Health Now. 
Enhance PCMC Services, Stop NHA Institutional Greed.

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One thought on “[Statement] Prioritize Children’s Right to Health Now. Enhance PCMC Services, Stop NHA Institutional Greed. -PAHRA

  1. The Philippines as a State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) has legal obligations to take a number of steps to ensure that everyone under its jurisdiction can enjoy the rights set out in the ICESCR. Obligations to RESPECT, PROTECT and FULFILL the right to health, thus the government has to ensure the provision of health care services to all. Stop the sale of the Philippine Children;s Medical Center (PCMC)!


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