09 August 2017
Statement of the Commission on Human Rights
on the passage of the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) lauds the passage of the Republic Act No. 10932, otherwise known as the “Anti-Hospital Deposit Law,” especially in its intent to increase the penalties for the refusal of hospitals and clinics to administer appropriate initial medical treatment in emergency or serious cases.
We recognize that its passage advances every Filipino’s right to health or more specifically, broadening (widening or opening) the access to urgent or emergency health services—guaranteed both in domestic laws and international conventions. The 1987 Philippine Constitution under Article 13, Section 11 states that: “There shall be priority for the needs of the under-privileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers.” In addition, the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which the Philippines is a State Party to, emphasizes in Article 12.2-D that the State must ensure “the creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”
Equality and non-discrimination are fundamental human rights principles and critical components of the right to health. Making it unlawful for a hospital or clinic to “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit or any other form of advance payment as a prerequisite for administering basic emergency care to any patient” is a necessary safeguard to guarantee that no patient is being discriminated against based on his/her economic status, as the statistics on sickness and need for services among poor populations are staggering.
The Commission supports the government in enacting concrete legislations that provide people better access to decent and adequate health facilities and services. The passage of RA 10932 shows the current administration’s political and moral will to address the issue of healthcare, and does take cognizance of basic human rights concerns of Filipinos. The CHR commends the authors of the new law, as well as the President for signing it, affirming the State’s obligation to uphold everyone’s right to health.
At the same time, we acknowledge that this positive news may have some economic impact to both public and private hospital institutions in terms of their operational expenses. Through open communication and continuous dialogue, the CHR hopes that the government, hospital associations, and patient support groups will come up with a consensus to sustainably implement the law to serve the best interests of the public.
Faithful to its mandate, the Commission, despite these positive developments, will continue to be proactive and vigilant in both monitoring the developments of rules and regulations for RA 10932, as well as in pushing for other bills that would lead to a better healthcare system for the country. It is our hope that our legal and policy frameworks continue to include the protection of rights that would lead to a life of wellness and dignity for all. ■
Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia
Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
Telephone No: (02) 928-5792 / 0977 284 0787
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org