Speech of President Aquino at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Medical City Global Gateway Logistics City

Speech
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Medical City Global Gateway Logistics City
[December 7, 2010, Clarkfield, Pampanga]
[Please check against delivery]
I am honored to join you today as you lay down the foundations for your new hospital here in Clark Field, Pampanga.
For 40 years, The Medical City has stood by its commitment to deliver excellent and compassionate service, and for this I congratulate and thank you. The Filipino people are fortunate to be able to entrust their health to an institution such as yours. You have established yourself as an important part of our country’s health sector. The Medical City in Ortigas is known as one of the best in the country, with facilities and services to rival those found anywhere in the world.

The establishment of a second hospital here in Clark will allow people in Pampanga and other parts of Central Luzon easier access to the excellent care that Medical City is known for.  It is my dream that some day hospitals all over the country can provide the level of quality care that you do at the Medical City.
As you probably know, access to adequate health care is one of the key elements in reducing poverty.  And, reducing poverty during my term as president is my promise to the Filipino people. In the area of health care alone, the challenges are great.
162 out of every 100,000 mothers die from complications during childbirth every year. This is according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.  Part of the reason is that they do not have access or could not afford prenatal and postnatal care services.
Our National Household Targeting System has identified 4.6 million Filipino families as among the poorest of the poor. These are the families shackled to poverty because they do not have access to basic services such as education and health which would have improved their opportunities for a better life.
This is the challenge my administration is trying to address. We have targeted programs for those who need them most: the poorest 4.6 million Filipino families.
My administration has begun a program to extend PhilHealth coverage to these families in the next 2 to 3 years. We are also in the process of reforming the system to increase the percentage of medical fees that will be shouldered by PhilHealth in a way that does not compromise its financial viability.
On the same front, the Department of Social Welfare and Development has been working to more accurately identify the 4.6 million families who need the most help so that they can benefit from our conditional cash transfer program. Similar to the successful Bolsa Familia program in Brazil, the CCT will provide cash to these families on the condition that they keep their children in school.
We have also committed more resources to primary and secondary education to ensure that the children of those 4.6 million families have schools to go to that can provide them with the skills to find honest and sustainable livelihood. This is the reason why we have increased the budget for Education in 2011 by 16 percent to P271.67 billion. No other administration has spent this much on education. And may I add here that despite the claims of some elements that we have cut the budget for state universities and colleges, we have actually increased the total appropriation for SUCs by more than 11 percent. A simple check of the budget for 2011 which has just been passed by the Senate will confirm this.
These are some of the concrete steps that our administration is taking to fulfill our pledge to reduce poverty.  It is a pledge that I hope you here in The Medical City will help us fulfill. Your expansion here in Pampanga is a way to expand access to healthcare, but more importantly, it is a vote of confidence in the prospects for our country. I look forward to the completion of this establishment, and to more groundbreakings to come.
Together with the Medical City, we are witnessing the dawning of a bright new day for the Philippines.  A day where we face the future with optimism and confidence that all of us, not just a few, will reap the benefits of our hard and honest work.
Thank you and good day.