Unhealthy (Part 3)

SORSOGON CITY – When Rolando “Nonoy” Lacsa received a claim stab for a PhilHealth card from Aquing Bicolnon Inc., a multi-sectoral non-government organization in Bicol Region, a few months back, he felt lucky.

Not every one got to have a PhilHealth card courtesy of 1Utak party-list group.

Nonoy is a caretaker/maintenance person of a property in this city owned by the Bicol Clinic Foundation, an American organization that sends medical volunteers from the United States to the country every June and July of the year to provide medical services to sick Sorsoganons who are too poor to afford proper hospital care.

Nonoy must have contemplated on the irony of it when he rushed his youngest daughter, Princess, to a hospital for ”dengue” with practically no money in his pocket.  The Grade 2 pupil was confined to Sorsogon Provincial Hospital last September 1.

The claim stub kept his hopes up, though. With this, the hospital expenses would be slashed by at least P6,000. It would certainly help.

But there was also a tinge of fear and doubt that troubled him. He was aware of the ongoing controversy over the validity of the PhilHealth cards the Aquing Bicolnon has been distributing lately.

Mr. Alfredo Jubilo, the government firm’s local executive, earlier urged those who received PhilHealth cards from Aquing Bicolnon to disregard them.

Nonoy assured himself that it was Jubilo who assured the public in recent television and radio interviews that, “Magpunta lang kayo sa office at bibigyan kayo ng certification.”

“Sa mga beneficiary, kahit walang card pumunta lang sa PhilHealth office,” Nonoy heard Jubilo say several times in broadcast interviews.

As soon as Nonoy arrived at the Philhealth office on Alegre street in the city proper, he showed to the receptionist the claim stab he got from 1Utak party-list.

The receptionist asked for his PhilHealth card. Nonoy explained that he has yet to get the actual PhilHealth card, which he was told was still in the process of being printed.

He asked Nonoy if he has received a card from Aquing Bicolnon. Nonoy answered, “No.”

The receptionist then told Nonoy to produce a PhilHealth card, “tapos kami na ang bahala.”

The poor man tried to explain that Jubilo assured the public that they only had to go to the PhilHealth office and they would be given a certification, but the receptionist would listen.

“Nanghina ako dahil gastos ang ibig sabihin nito,”

He thought of the P700-per-day hospital room and thousands of pesos he would need to produce to pay for the medications of his daughter.

All he could mutter was: “Narinig ko kasi si Jubilo sa radyo.” Then he left the PhilHealth office confused.

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