Speech of President Aquino during the Inauguration of East Avenue Medical Center’s Upgraded Facilities

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines

During the inauguration of East Avenue Medical Center’s upgraded facilities and new hospital equipment

[Delivered at East Avenue Medical Center, East Avenue, Quezon City, February, 14, 2011]

What we become as a nation is dependent upon our capacity to empower the poorest of our citizens. In the context of our society, empowering our people means giving them the opportunity to take hold of their own destiny; it means allowing them to tread the upward path towards progress. It means giving our youth the education they need; giving our graduates the chance to land a decent profession; it means allowing them to walk our streets free from uncertainty and strife.

Needless to say, empowerment means allowing our citizens to lead healthy, productive lives; and doing so requires our hospitals to meet the medical demands of our society. You are our partners in nation-building. In order to protect the community from the threat of disease and illness, our doctors, nurses and staff must be imbued with the skills to ensure the welfare of the patients they serve. It means making sure that, as our medical professionals are among the most committed in the world, so should our medical institutions be.

The Filipino people are fortunate to be able to entrust their health to an institution such as the East Avenue Medical Center. I commend the Officers and Staff of the EAMC for having been awarded the Gold Banner, under the DOH program Ospital ng Bayan: Malinis at Mabango (OBMM) for being one of the cleanest and most well-kept hospitals in the NCR. Driven by a larger commitment to the Filipinos, you have established yourself as an important part of our country’s health sector.

Closing the health gap among our people is a matter of top priority, especially if we are to succeed in building a genuinely free, fair and equitable society. We want our countrymen, particularly the poor, to be able to access medical care services, whenever and wherever they need it. This is why, alongside with our vision to insure about 4.6 million indigent Filipino families in three years or less under the National Health Insurance Program, priority is also accorded to the improvement of government health facilities and hospitals, where our poor countrymen can access sufficient medical care.

Much of the Department of Health’s 13.6 percent budget increase will be allocated to our hospitals, our rural health units, and our health centers. This will provide them with functional equipment and competent health workers. This will enable our government to better respond to the health needs of our countrymen.

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. We are confident that this will not only save thousands of families from the effects of disease and illness, but will also keep them afloat during times of economic difficulties. At the bottom line, we are in the business of saving lives.

There is much more that needs to be done, but with the seeds of reform we have started to plant, I am confident that we will be able to attain our goals sooner rather than later. Through our National Household Targeting System (NHTS), we have identified the poorest 4.6 million families, who have no access even to the most basic education and health services. They will be the priority beneficiaries of our Conditional Cash Transfer program, providing them cash incentives if they meet certain conditions, such as sending their children to school, or getting their babies vaccinated. In spite of the challenges we face in implementing the program, we are committed to making it even stronger so that in time, our economic growth will be felt by a greater portion of our countrymen.

To EAMC: with all your significant feats and your continuous efforts to deliver quality health care—from your upgraded facilities such as the Tahan-Tahanan and the Birthing Center, to the new hospital equipment installed at the Central Sterilization Unit and your Radiology Department—it is my fervent hope that you will continue to help us as we fulfill our pledge to ease the burden caused by poverty. As we make certain that darkness does not eclipse this newfound daylight again, may we all stay on the straight and righteous path toward progress. Let us continue to stand under the banner of solidarity, and make sure that the Filipinos get the best medical service, and the quality of life they rightfully deserve.

Thank you.