Rewat leads mourning over health centre decentralisation bungle

PHUKET: Rewat Areerob, President of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor), led a symbolic mourning of effective government administration yesterday (Apr 4) to protest the central government failing to hand over operation of community health centres to the provincial level.

The gathering, with members dressed in black, was held in front of the monument of King Rama V at the old Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket Town. Rama V is honoured and remembered for bringing the modern form of government to Thailand.

Members of the group held up placards calling for the national government to hand over responsibility of Nawamintha Rachinee 60th Anniversary Health Centers and Tambon Health Promotion Centers on the island to the PPAO.

The Phuket symbolic mourning, during which flowers were laid at the foot of the statue of Rama V, was part of a nationwide movement by Provincial Administrative Organisations (PAO) throughout the country.

Mr Rewat explained that a Cabinet resolution had ordered the local health centres to be handed over to provincial authorities in October last year. However , the handover had yet to happen due to budgetary wrangles.

“The president of the Association of Provincial Administrative Organisations of Thailand sent a letter to the Provincial Administrative Organisation in every province, calling for members to dress in black and prepare placards with messages calling for transfer of the health centres,” he said.

The criteria and procedures to be followed in handing over responsibility for the health centres were set out in the Cabinet resolution on Oct 5, 2021, he said.

The Board of Decentralization to Local Administrative Organisations was duly informed of the procedures, he added.

“It now appears some agencies involved in budget allocation for the health centres prepared a budget allocation proposal to submit to the Cabinet that did not account for the transfer,” he said.

“This has resulted in the delay of transferring such centres and affects public health services. It has caused damage to both the bureaucratic system and the services provided to the people,” Mr Rewat said.

“In this regard, the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation has joined forces [with the other PAOs in the country] to submit proposals and appeal to the government and relevant ministers to review the Cabinet resolutions and allocate the budget in accordance with the Notification of the Commission on Decentralization to Local Administrative Organisations in order to continue to work for the benefit of the people,” he said.

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