Transfer of Fabella hospital to push through despite protests

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Tuesday, 14 June 2016 - Last Updated on June 14, 2016

fabellaThe planned modernization and transfer of Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital will push through amid intensified campaign to halt its supposed privatization.

Fabella hospital director Dr. Esmeraldo Ilem said the transfer of the hospital, which is dubbed as the “baby factory” for catering to many poor mothers, was finalized after around half of the 1,200 hospital employees said yes in a signature campaign.

The hospital management has insisted that the transfer of the 65-year-old hospital is necessary since the building’s structural integrity has been reduced over the years.

The go-to maternity of the poor located at Sta. Cruz, Manila will be closed and transferred to a six-story building inside the Department of Health (DOH) compound also in Manila.

“We are just waiting for the release of the License to Operate from the Quezon City government for us to be able to transfer to the Fabella building constructed in the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP). We will then transfer to the new building [in Manila] once the building there is ready for occupancy,” Dr. Ilem said.

Health groups however have expressed strong opposition to the closure of Fabella, which they said is another move to privatize health services in the country.

“Though the Aquino government and the DOH insist that this is not privatization, we believe that these projects are definitely under the general framework of the privatization policy in the guise of modernization, and would mean more expensive, unaffordable health services for the people,” the Save Fabella Hospital Movement said in a report.

The group said the closure was mainly due to commercial interests, as the government through the Home Guarantee Corporation (HGC) plans to develop the property where Fabella currently stands into a mixed housing and commercial area.

Health workers who are opposed to the Fabella modernization plan said the hospital’s management has used the structural integrity of the building since 2007 but no immediate action was done to address the safety issue.

Various groups are urging incoming President Duterte to stop the modernization of the Fabella hospital.

“We are urging President Duterte to stop the closure and, eventually, cancel the privatization of the almost century-old maternity hospital,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said, adding that Fabella is one of the 23 government hospitals targeted for privatization by the Aquino administration.

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