Showing posts with label universal health care. Show all posts
Showing posts with label universal health care. Show all posts

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Policymakers to blame why poor people turn to saints for jobs, healthcare

09 January 2014
Policymakers are to blame why throngs of poor and sick people opt to seek deliverance from the Black Nazarene at Luneta and Quiapo Church rather than flock to hospitals for regular medical treatment, the labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said in a statement.
The group said that besides the yearly observance of this centuries-old tradition, the devotees’ main concerns for keeping the faith revolve around their plea to relieve them from serious illness and lift them out of poverty.
“Policymakers should look at this phenomenon in a more political rather than in purely religious sense. It’s failure of polices and governance. When poor people are afraid of hospitals because of high cost, their traditional option is to look for divine and non-discriminating sponsors in the likes of the Black Nazarene and other saints,” said PM.
The group pointed out that while faith and deliverance is a personal devotion to the Creator, quality healthcare, employment and other aspects of good life are the State’s social and moral obligation to its people.
Along this line PM chided lawmakers for making noise about their constituents having problems in availing the ‘pork’ they have realigned to different agencies. 
Earlier Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga complained against the lack of guidelines from government agencies on how former pork beneficiaries can have access to the services they previously enjoy.
“The problem is that lawmakers merely realigned their PDAF to line agencies without putting in place a universal system in delivering social services, creating in effect administrative gridlocks because politicized and discretionary parts of the budget remain,” said PM.
The group had pushed for the creation of a universal social protection fund in place of the pork barrel system during the height of the anti-pork barrel campaign last year, adding that the terms ‘pork scholars’ and ‘medical assistance’ should have been replaced now by ‘state scholars’ and ‘universal healthcare’. 
PM explained further that the United Nations (UN) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have been pushing for ‘universalisation’ in place of the ‘targeting system’ in the provision of social services because it is administratively less costly, inclusive, and more empowering when they become legal entitlements based on people’s needs and not the ability to pay.
The group warned lawmakers not to exploit the frustrations of the masses to smuggle in a plan to reconstitute their PDAF.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

PNoy should now heed the demand of his “bosses” for pork abolition

Press Release
August 27, 2013

With the success of the Million People March, the militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called on President Benigno Aquino III to accede to the demand for the abolition of the pork barrel. “It behooves PNoy to heed the resounding cry of his Bosses—Abolish not reform the pork barrel. Reform or renaming of the PDAF will not placate the anger of citizens outraged at the wanton theft of the people’s tax money,” asserted Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Fortaleza also challenged the “million people marchers” to be ready for another massive protest should President Aquino continue to reject the demand for pork abolition. He also appealed to anti-pork protesters to push for an alternative fund distribution system in which social services will be as accessible as a right and not subject to the discretion of politicians.

“The anti-pork protest should develop into a movement for universal social protection and also converge with the anti-epal, anti-trapo and anti-dynasty advocacies of the last elections. Such is a roadmap towards lasting political change in our country,” Fortaleza insisted.

PM is advocating an “Apat na Dapat” set of demands to address the pork barrel scandal. First, the abolition of all forms of pork barrel, principally the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the Presidential Social Fund (PSF) and the special purpose funds. Second, the realignment of pork to fund universal social protection like Philhealth coverage, public employment, disaster relief and climate mitigation. Third, people’s participation in the budget process from identification of programs and projects to evaluation. And last, the passage of the Freedom of Information bill to enhance transparency and accountability in government spending.

The group said that the government budget for social services in less than the United Nations target of 6% of the gross domestic product. As an example, PM cited that realigning the proposed P25.2 billion PDAF in 2014 can pay for the annual Philhealth premiums of 14 million Filipinos, a third of the adult population. “The rest of the population can be covered by abolishing the PSF and other presidential pork, and then rechanneling for Philhealth. In this way, we can attain universal health insurance tomorrow,” Fortaleza claimed.

He explained that “Workers do not just want to curb corruption by abolishing the pork barrel. We also want to curtail patronage by removing the discretion of politicians in the delivery of social services. Public services must be accessible to all Filipinos as a right without the need to beg for the indulgence of politicians.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

Social protection network pushes for agenda-based ‘13 polls

08 October 2012

After an annoying week of ‘circus’ at the Commission on Elections, a network of grassroots organizations campaigning for social protection is pressing for a more empowering, agenda-based conduct of the 2013 national and local elections. In a “Caravan of Electoral Agenda” organised this morning by the Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP), a priority list of social policy agenda was presented in public as the campaign network plans to make active intervention in next year’s polls.

The list includes the agenda on:
Decent work and guaranteed employment
Universal Health Care
Humane housing and the right to the city, and
De-privatization of essential services

“Political campaigns in the past insult the intelligence of people, candidates entertain us with song and dance numbers and empty promises. Unholy alliances among parties show that winning is more important than presenting clear and coherent programs,” declared KAMP lead convenor, Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, adding that “It’s time to make our elections agenda-based.”

The KAMP caravan with some 300 representatives coming from communities of the network made its first stop at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) where workers demanded full compliance to government’s obligation to promote the workers’ rights and provide full employment to all Filipino workers.

“Yesterday was the World Day for Decent Work.  The celebration was obviously empty here in the Philippines where contractual/outsourced jobs dominate the industries while more and more members of the labor force are trapped in chronic unemployment and underemployment problems,” said Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) chair, Renato Magtubo.  He likewise called on the government to formulate a public employment program that can offer guaranteed public jobs for the millions of unemployed.

From the labor department, KAMP members proceeded to the Comelec where they handed a letter to Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes, requesting the poll body to organize a series of national debate among the candidates on the said policy agenda. Nemenzo said the Comelec is in the best position to organize this national debate, “so that candidates can also be given a fair chance to explain their position on those particular issues.”  She added that better still if the poll body can organize the same at the local level to bring it closer to the people.

Magtubo on his part explained that, “A national debate is thought-provoking and participatory, and therefore will be more empowering compared to sugar-coated political ads created by spin masters.”

From the poll body, the caravan headed toward the Department of Health office in Manila where KAMP members called for more radical reforms in the country’s health care system which they said, needs to institutionalize the principle and programs of primary health care to attend to people’s health needs at the onset, before they even reach the hospital. Nemenzo pointed out that in Cuba “hospitals are considered just a step away from the cemetery.”

The group said the KP program remains limited as the system merely converges with the government’s targeted conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, and therefore is not universal.  “KAMP is pushing for a system where quality health care is accessible and available to anyone, anytime, anywhere,” explained Nemenzo, who is also the leader of WomanHealth Philippines.

The caravan’s last leg was at the National Housing Authority (NHA) where the demand for on-site/in-city housing program is being pushed by urban poor groups.

Bubuy Magahis, coordinator of Kilos Maralita said, “The present off-site relocation program denies the poor the right to the city.  Cities are not only for the 1% and the middle class.  The poor have the right to be with them and the State has the obligation to ensure that city spaces, including parks, are mutually shared by all its citizens whose majority in fact happens to be the poor.”

Friday, July 1, 2011

P-Noy gets failing mark, make up assignment from labor

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV
30 June 2011

Greatly disappointed with President Aquino’s performance during his first year in office, the militant labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)  gave P-Noy a failing mark, specifically for making the Philippine Airlines (PAL) the flag carrier of his labor contractualization policy and for perpetuating the country’s pro-capitalist economic policies.

PM joined other groups in a rally for social protection held at the Mendiola bridge today organized by the Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP).  KAMP is calling on the government to install social protection policies to prevent the vulnerable sectors of Philippine society from further impoverishment. 

“P-Noy failed labor the very first day he assumed office and he continue to do so by making labor contractualization his major policy stand,” stated PM Chair Renato Magtubo. 

But more than just designating a failing mark, the labor group is giving P-Noy a load of assignments in order to make up and stay relevant, lest he squander the next five years doing things that have no impact on the lives of the working class.

Magtubo said his group is putting forward its “Apat Na Dapat” agenda for the government to consider.  These include:
1. Regular jobs, not contractual employment;
2. Public Employment Program for the unemployed;
3. Healthcare coverage for all; and
4. Moratorium on demolitions, evictions and foreclosures

Magtubo said this four-way test for P-Noy is not a mere menu of things to do as each item require a major reversal of current policies.  The Public Employment Program, for instance, would depart from the failed private sector led employment generation while healthcare for all would involve large amount of state subsidy – a policy renounced under privatization and market deregulation. 

Organized labor is also at odds with Malacanang since last year when Rosalinda Baldoz, President Aquino’s labor secretary, upheld Lucio Tan’s plan to layoff some 2,600 PAL employees and rehire them as contractual workers.  Although Malacanang has ruled in favour of Baldoz’ order, the outsourcing issue is still awaiting final resolution from the Office of the President. 

Contractualization, the labor group claims, depresses labor standards including income and job security. It exacerbates the unemployment and underemployment problems by transforming many jobs temporary in nature.

“Chronic unemployment and the proliferation of temporary and precarious jobs were the main reasons why many Pinoys suffer the life of indignity,” said Magtubo. A recent survey made by the Social Weather Station put the number of unemployed among adults to 11 million.

The labor leader and former partylist representative added that P-Noy made many bad things even worse by clinging onto the same economic policies imposed by previous administrations. 

“Unbridled liberalization prevented the growth of agriculture and local industry in the last three or four decades, thus, creating no solid base of employment for the growing labor force.  Deregulation and privatization on the other hand made Filipinos suffer more under the regime of high prices,” explained Magtubo.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Labor group demands full blown inquiry into Philhealth’s bad health

21 August 2009

A labor partylist group, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), is calling for a full blown inquiry by Congress on the reported impending collapse of the Philhealth system so that the people, especially the working class, can get into the bottom of what could be another scam or lest a case of wanton neglect of the government’s soleuniversal health care system.

“Workers cannot afford to lose their only source of universal health care system, thus whoever would be found responsible for its collapse must be tried for committing this kind of horrendous act,” PM chair Renato Magtubo said.

Reports that unpaid government accounts amounting to some P20-B, contributed mainly to the financial hemorrhage of the system. The labor group wanted to know why this happed and where did their contributions go amid persistent allegations that the fund has been used by the administration during the 2004 elections and for patronage politics. Just a few years back, Philihealth had been boasting of a huge surplus.

During a Senate hearing early this week, Philhealth officials admitted that the health care system has a life of only up to 2016 if government debts are not settled.

Magtubo said the impending collapse of Philhealth will not only jeopardize the health coverage of more than 16 million wage and salaried workers but also the stake of voluntary members and non-salaried workers whose meager income made private health care a non-viable option for them.

Moreover, the labor leader said, Philhealth’s current ‘bad health’ dooms any expansion of the health care program which is a necessary step at improving the country’s human development index. Extension of universal health care for employed and unemployed persons is one of Partido ng Manggagawa’s demand for abailout package for workers.

The group pointed out that it is also during times of crisis, like this ongoing recession, where health care is doubly threatened as a consequence of job loss and chronic unemployment.

Universal health care is becoming a fundamental demand being pushed by labor groups around the globe. In the United States, for instance, a proposed legislation that would expand medicare coverage for another 50 million Americans is now hotly being debated in Congress.