After PGH fire, medical students group urges gov't to 'prioritize health sector'

Published May 18, 2021, 10:57 AM

by Gabriela Baron

Following the fire that broke out at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), a medical students group urged the national government to “prioritize health sector for the country to cope with the worsening pandemic.”


The Philippine Medical Students’ Association (PMSA) aired its concern after the fire-hit hospital was “left to rely on donations” despite the government having “more than enough funds at their disposal.”

The PGH is the country’s largest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) referral center.

PMSA hit the national government for allocating taxpayers’ money to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) instead of strengthening “the already overwhelmed and underfunded public healthcare system.”

The national health budget was cut by P31 billion in 2017 and by P10 billion in 2020, the group noted.

“We have no one else to blame for the unfortunate incident at PGH and the country’s failed pandemic response but this government with whom the cries of the people fall on deaf ears,” PMSA said in a statement released on May 16.

“Now more than ever, the health sector must be prioritized for the country to cope with the worsening pandemic situation, but clearly, addressing the current health crisis is far from the minds of the government officials helming the country’s pandemic response,” it added.

The group also lauded the efforts of doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, security guards, PGH personnel, and firefighters who ensured a safe and efficient evacuation of patients and their families.

The blaze, which broke out on the third floor of the hospital early Sunday morning, forced patients to evacuate and transfer hospitals.

On Monday, May 17, PGH Director Dr. Gap Legaspi said the fire was possibly caused by faulty electrical wiring or circuit breaker.