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MANILA, Philippines – The Taguig City government offered free teleconsultations to residents of Enlisted Men’s Barrios (EMBO) after the Makati City government announced the closure of health centers in the area.
Earlier, Makati said that EMBO residents are no longer qualified for the city’s healthcare services following the Supreme Court decision declaring Bonifacio Global City and EMBO barangays as part of Taguig City.
“Due to the abrupt closure of health centers in EMBO barangays by Makati, and its refusal to turn over these facilities to Taguig, Taguig will temporarily provide teleconsultations for the residents of EMBO barangays who have been deprived by Makati of essential health services,” Taguig City said on Wednesday, January 3.
The teleconsultation hotlines operate from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays, offering free medical check-ups, referrals, prescriptions, and complimentary laboratory requests to the residents.
EMBO residents may also have their check-ups at 31 health centers and three superhealth centers in Taguig. Temporarily, Taguig has designated specific health centers for specific EMBO barangays.
Taguig criticized Makati’s decision to close health facilities in EMBO barangays, labeling it as “deception and fraud.”
Taguig argued that health centers don’t require a license to operate, pointing out that Pitogo Health Center, the sole registered primary care facility in EMBO, still holds a valid license for three more years.
Taguig also asserted ownership of EMBO and its public facilities, appealing to be allowed to manage health centers and lying-in clinics. The city emphasized that citizens’ lives and health should not be manipulated for political purposes.
During meetings held on September 4 and 11, 2023, Taguig said that it agreed to the proposal by Makati Mayor Abby Binay for Taguig to take over the management of health centers starting October 1, 2023.
However, a few days before the supposed takeover, Taguig claimed that Makati backtracked from the supposed agreement.
Responding to Taguig’s claim, Makati argued that a license to operate is required for health facilities that offer diagnostic services, such as those in EMBO.
Makati City administrator Claro Certeza also reiterated that the Supreme Court decision “is about political territory, not ownership.”
“If we use Taguig’s twisted interpretation of the Supreme Court decision, not only do they own the entire parcels 3 and 4 but all the land in the EMBO barangays, including those owned by private individuals,” Certeza said.
He also claimed that Taguig had been aware of the health facility closures in EMBO but took no action.
Certeza questioned why Taguig City only offered teleconsultations instead of building its own health centers in the area.
“The problem with Taguig is that it wants all the perks but none of the responsibilities. It’s about time for Taguig and its leadership to face their responsibilities and do their job,” Certeza said.
Last September 2023, Makati proposed a credit line for Taguig allowing EMBO residents to still access health services from Makati-run health facilities. This move, however, was contested by Taguig, arguing that this went against the directive of Health Secretary Ted Herbosa to exclude ownership issues in the transition process.
Aside from healthcare services, Makati City has discontinued the benefits previously provided to senior citizens living in EMBO barangays.