The ceremony, according to Vnexpress, took place in less than 30 minutes, and was cast in a gloomy atmosphere, without flowers as often seen in similar award events, without words of encouragement or gratitude, but with a sum that can hurt the feeling of both the exemplary women and the audience.
The three women – Hoang Thi Nguyet, Khuat Thi Dinh, and Phan Thi Nam Dong – have heaped the public praise for their great courage to reveal the scandal at Hoai Duc Hospital. Top leaders of the hospital had allegedly instructed their subordinates to make false blood analysis reports, issuing the same reports to different patients without really conducting the tests so as to earn money from the Social Insurance Fund. Following their denunciations, police have launched a corruption probe, and have filed formal charges against those involved, including the hospital’s director, his deputy and eight other staffs.
The scandal sends shivers through the healthcare sector, and many people while extolling the women have expected they will be richly rewarded for their bravery, only to see that they are poured cold water instead.
The tiny sum given to the women captures headlines.
Nguyen Van Yen, deputy director of Hanoi’s Health Department, admits in Tuoi Tre after presiding over the award ceremony that the sum is small, but the health department has abided by regulations provided for in relevant laws. He says the rewards are meant to recognize the bravery of the women, so money should not be emphasized.
Thanh Nien observes the dreary atmosphere at the ceremony, with few health officials from the city government or the healthcare sector attending to rally support for the good deed. It seems the health department has organized the ceremony in such a tight-fisted way to cope with the public opinions rather than to advocate for those who have braved all risks to fight the evil-doers.
Despite the leader of Hanoi’s Health Department using legal regulations as the excuse for giving the trivial sum to the women, local media has referred to prevailing regulations to point out that it is just a fallacious argument.
Circular 03/2011/TTLT jointly issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government Inspectorate classifies four different levels of bonuses for people revealing crimes of corruption, with the top level amounting to some VND25 million and the lowest level some VND2.5 million. Meanwhile, the sums given in this case are still smaller than the odd number of the lowest level, says Sai Gon Tiep Thi. In reality, according to the paper, many ceremonies have been held in the past three years to honor those people who have spoken out against corruption, with the bonuses ranging between VND5 million and VND10 million each. The sums given to the three brave women are therefore unexplainable.
The ceremony lacked the solemnity demanded for events of that nature, says Nguoi Lao Dong, which notes that people there seemed not to have time for a group photo, while a leader of Hoai Duc hospital in the speech at the event forgot to mention words like ‘gratitude’ or ‘honor’ for the women.
Such an atmosphere could explain why the three women looked sad and burst into tears after receiving the certificates of merit.
Nguoi Lao Dong also relates how outspoken people in their fights against corruption and other social vices have not been treated in a fair way, citing the case of Teacher Do Viet Khoa, who had to quit job after unveiling problems in the education sector’s exams. Such people should be protected and honored if the fight against corruption is to achieve success, says the newspaper.
Commenting on the award ceremony, National Assembly Deputy Truong Trong Nghia says it is a sad event. When people speak out against the evil, they do not expect rewards, but they want that the right must be recognized and the wrong must be eliminated for the good of the society, says Nghia in Sai Gon Tiep Thi. Therefore, rewards are given not because of the outspoken people, but because of the benefits for the society, and as such, offering rewards is the responsibility of leaders.
The rewards to the three exemplary medical staff at Hoai Duc hospital, says Sai Gon Tiep Thi, fail to encourage outspoken people, but hint that ‘we do not encourage accusations and denunciations like this.’ It is a reluctant miserly gratuity to douse the public anger, rather than a heart-felt gratitude expected by the society.
The Saigon Times Daily