Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dr. Martin Bautista on Healthcare and Proper Budget Alignment

April 15, Quezon City – After Juan Flavier and Loi Ejercito, another doctor by profession will be joining the senatorial race for the 2010 Election on May 10. Dr. Martin Bautista, a former member of Ang Kapatiran party, joins Liberal Party headed by presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. He is hoping to bring resolution on the current status of health care in the Philippines along with the proper budget distribution.

Bautista welcomed me in their house at New Manila in Quezon City and have a 20 minute conversation that covered his plans in properly aligning the national budget, improving healthcare and educational system and projects for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). However, when asked what his major contribution was if he assumes position in the senate, he proudly answered that he would want to focus on the proper alignment of the national budget with five reasons as reflected in his position in the ballot:

1. He would like to slash 90% of the budget in infrastructure projects and distribute it to health care, education and salary of the teachers, public health workers (doctors and nurses), police and soldiers.
2. After investing to health care and education along with the salary, it would make the future generations competitive. Through this, it would make Filipinos stay in the country and serve their fellow Filipinos.
3. Professionalize the ranks of the teachers, police, health care workers and others to make them focus with their work given with right compensation.
4. The commitment to show our determination to produce the new generation of Filipinos by investing with healthcare and education.
5. He also saw infrastructure projects sometimes source of corruption in the country. Where other politicians can easily get funds for themselves from it.

As for Bautista, there were five topics that were raised and he needed to answer either to comment, yes, no or abstain.

1. Reproductive Health Bill

Bautista: I am for reproductive health bill. As I said more importance, well not more important, but as important for human life is respect for human dignity.

2. Department of Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral

Bautista: She is an excellent physician. I think she is doing great in her job.

3. Condom/AIDS/HIV

Bautista: HIV/AIDS is an epidemic our country cannot afford. Maba-bankrupt tayo niyan (It will lead us to bankrupt). Condoms will at least prevent a major outbreak, maybe 80-85%, 80% is better than zero percent. Condom will help to prevent the spread of the virus.

4. Church not supporting the candidates who are in RH Bill

Bautista: I think that is very short sighted. Unang una wag po tayong magmamalinis, wag po natin akalain na hindi pwedeng mag isip ang mga Filipino. Hindi lang ang mga pari and Obispo ang pwedeng mag isip. (Let’s not be self righteous and see Filipinos not thinking. Priests and bishops are not the only people who think. It is important that we should enlighten). It is our responsibility to make our citizen enlighten, give them the freedom to choose.

5. What is the current status of the public/government hospital in the country

Bautista: Halos wala (almost nothing). Like I said we only put 249 pesos per Filipino. Ang kinakailangan natin sa bayan natin ay mas marami sana ang baranggay health clinics (We need to have more baranggay health clinics in our country). Ang pinag uusapan natin na kailangan sa bayan natin ay malinis na tubig, bakuna, (Our country needs is clean water and vaccination) can you imagine that it is that primitive. It is important for us to focus on prevention and not on tertiary care.

Bautista is also known as “Dr. Balikbayan,” a 47 year-old physician who returned to the country after working as a doctor in the United States and tries to extend his service to his fellow Filipino by running to the public office. He answered issues without hesitation, especially sensitive topics. He sees politics as a public service and sacrifice and not the usual work/job as others interpreted it.

Watch the 20 minute interview of Dr. Martin Bautista below:

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