ILOILO City – Members of progressive groups led by Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) Panay called for increase health budget amidst the coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) disease outbreak in the country.
In a picket protest held at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, the groups lambasted the government for ill-preparedness against the disease.
“The government has done nothing to prepare the public and its health facilities to mitigate the spread of the virus at an early stage,” said Ruth Alinsangao, coordinator of AHW Panay.
Alinsangao added that the government has prioritized other matters like redtagging and vilification of progressive groups instead of dealing with the disease.
The health department even suffered a P10 billion budget cut this year while facilities and other medical needs are very minimal, she added.
As of this writing, a total of 34 patients were recorded positive with the disease.
Duterte in a press conference last night has offered no concrete measure to address the lack of test kits and centers.
“Only 2,000 kits are available nationwide while five testing centers are said ready but not fully functional for lack of equipment and quarantine services,” said Alinsangao.
Despite the outbreak, the Duterte government has only requested P43 million for additional needs and only relied for testing kits from World Health Organization.
The health group AHW stressed that the public needs to be fully informed of the details of infection in the community for early detection and monitoring.
The group also demanded for support to healthcare professionals who risked their lives at the frontline facing the disease.
”Our health workers are lacking support from medical to financial needs that have long demanded subsidy for the health sector.”
This year’s health budget only translates to a meager P4.00 per person per day which cannot even buy a couple of paracetamols.
”We hold the Duterte government accountable for not prioritizing the health service and continued negligence towards public health,” Alinsangao ended./www.panaytoday.net