Press Release
January 6, 2009

Pia: Politics in 'pork' release compounds fund shortage
for PGH rescue unit for kids

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today appealed to private donors and foundations to come to the rescue of the Pediatric Neurosurgical Craniofacial Unit of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) which is now under threat of closure due to lack of funds.

Cayetano clarified, however, that the primary responsibility falls on the national government to provide the budget for such specialty units that serve the poor, in this case, indigent children with serious congenital ailments like hydrocephalus, encephaloceles and spina bifida.

"It is the national government which should be taking pains to ensure that there's sufficient budget for important health facilities like this. But sadly, its proponents are forced to source funding from private donors because it's not a Palace priority," lamented Cayetano, a long-time supporter of the project.

Set up in April 2008, the facility has so far benefited 168 children whose families could otherwise not afford costly medical procedures such as cranial and spinal surgery.

The lady senator has been assisting the operations of the facility through funds sourced from the Compañero Rene Cayetano Foundation and Gabriel Symphony Foundation, established in memory of her late senator-father and son, respectively.

A sports enthusiast, Cayetano raises funds for the two foundations through her annual bike and running events, such as "Bike for Hope," "Pinay In Action," and the "12-Hour Multi-Sport Event for Gabriel."

Other initiatives supported by the lady senator are the PGH Women's Desk, which caters to battered women in need of medical assistance and counseling, and the PGH Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-Gyne) Department.

Another is the PGH Liver Center, which has yet to be established due to the non-release since 2005 of what should have been its seed funding from Cayetano's Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"We intend to continue supporting initiatives like this but we are totally disgusted with Malacañang. Our PGH projects should be taken out of PDAF, but because the Palace likes to play politics in its release, we are left to raising funds from private sources which support our various running and biking activities," she explained.

"The Department of Budget and Management must refrain from playing favorites in the release of the PDAF of any lawmaker, whether administration or opposition, for PGH and other public hospitals. Pubic health services should not be sacrificed for politics."

News Latest News Feed