TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines– Cagayan Board Member Cris Barcena on Sunday, June 25, appealed to the administration of Governor Manuel Mamba to prioritize the health facilities in the province even under the re-enacted budget.
Barcena made the statement after Mamba refused to allocate budget for the re-opening of Baggao community hospital the latter closed last year.
Mamba, according to Barcena, cited budget constraints, improved road and more ambulances for transporting patients, dilapidated building of the community hospital and the lack of personnel and equipment, in his refusal to reopen the hospitals in Barangay Centro.
Mamba also reportedly added that the people have already “adjusted” to having only one hospital in town since he ordered for the merging of the three hospitals last year.
In a statement, Barcena said health, being one of the basic services of the provincial government, should be of “greater priority.”
“The annual budget of the province for this year compose of billions of pesos. In the programming of budget, greater priorities should be given to the basic services of the government. Health services, it being among the basic services, should therefore be at a higher order of priority,” Barcena said.
He said Mamba, in his 2017 proposed budget, did not allocate “even a single centavo” for the hospitals in Tallang and Centro in Baggao town, Abulug and Bangag in Aparri, a clear move for the continued non-operation of the hospitals.
Barcena added that the people are adjusting to the situation because they are “forced” to avail the services of the hospital left in Barangay Tungel.
“It is not a voluntary act of adjustment. Instead, the people were left with no better choice than to bring their patients to a hospital farther than what it used to be and supposed to be an accessible health facility in their area,” he said.
“It is good that we have enough number of ambulances in Baggao. However, the presence of an adequate number of ambulances will never compensate the services that can be provided by even an infirmary hospital. Hospitals and ambulances are obviously two different things” he added.
Mamba is also poised to order the closure of three community hospitals in the Santa Ana, Gattaran and Alcala towns, citing budget constraints due to delayed passage of the budget. Northernforum.net