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Church seeks allies in healthcare work

Bishops look to state, private sector to form common purpose to help needy and sick

Church seeks allies in healthcare work
Church groups examine patients in a poor community
Julian Labores, Manila

May 13, 2011

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It may not see eye to eye with the government on the reproductive health bill, but the Catholic Church’s healthcare unit is seeking to collaborate with the state, and the private sector, in medical and charity work. The Catholic bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Health Care (ECHC) says it wants to expand its activities to all dioceses around the country and take a more active role in healthcare. “[We want] to tap other institutions and [to] network with private ones and take the same pathway… to provide fullness of life to our people,” said Father Marcelo Pamintuan, its executive director. “That is our aim, to find something in common. I see, in these times, we need to have something in common. It doesn’t mean agreeing with everything they want, but what we can do to help. [The Department of Health] has a lot of programs, so we want to involve ourselves,” Father Pamintuan said. He said the commission has already contacted private institutions seeking collaboration in helping the handicapped, sick, elderly, and the dying. Another goal is to reach out to the needy and learn how to alleviate their healthcare needs, he added. He also noted funding for health care services is only one percent of the national budget, when it should be at least five percent. That is why there is a dire need to get help from other agencies like us, he said. Father Pamintuan plans find out whether all dioceses and parishes have their own healthcare units. “Then we share sources and strategies. We want all dioceses in the country to have one vision and mission,” he said. PM14225
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