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Our Hospitals Need Help!

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

All in the family? If they are just joking, we will appreciate it, because we do need something to laugh about these days. But if they are serious, then, that is another matter, because it could mean that our country is edging towards a monarchy, or is that the wrong term? I am referring to the reports that our incumbent president, former Davao City mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, has declared that he is no longer seeking reelection, but will run for vice president, instead.

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And then what? Louder than a clap of thunder is the news also that his daughter Sara, now mayor of Davao, is being pushed by various quarters to run for the presidency, and we have not heard any announcement, that is, denial, from her about this. So are we going to have a father-daughter tandem, with the father, himself now president, apparently agreeable to the idea since he has not been making any declarations that the loudest whisper is not true?

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Ah, well, the people will decide on that when they cast their votes come election time. But I am sure many other countries, their officials, especially, are puzzled, if not amused by such a development. Well, that will get us into the world news, and perhaps divert attention from this still raging pandemic that seems to have no intention of returning  to its home base yet. Remember? The virus was first discovered and identified in China, but quickly spread worldwide, confounding even the most brilliant of our scientists and medical people.

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But if there is anything that could ease our anxieties and fears about the pandemic that originated in a Chinese city, it should be the report that our city, Bacolod, has been credited for being a “model” in the response to the Covid that has been taking its toll on so many countries, confounding some of their most talented and erstwhile successful medical people. Me, I still have the strongest hope that an effective cure, especially a preventive, such as a vaccine, will soon be discovered and adopted worldwide, to send this virus into flight. And let us accompany our hopes with prayers that this will happen soon!

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But what is this report that hospitals are reeling from the debts of PhilHealth incurred by patients, most of whom, I suspect, are victims of the COVID? I think the PhilHealth concept was a bright idea when presented and adopted, but then, its proponents must never have imagined that a time would come when, not only our country, but probably most countries in the world, will  have to deal with a pandemic as this COVID has proved to be. So who, or what body can come up with a solution to this problem? PhilHealth has been a boon to ailing Filipinos, but it now looks as if problems like pandemics were not taken into account when it was established.

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I guess PhilHealth was a wonderful idea when it was adopted, but then who could have imagined that a time would come when we would have to deal with an entirely new and unfamiliar disease that was able to spread itself so easily and quickly, confounding  our medical community at its onset, but has, lately been responsive to vaccination. Now that schools are due to open, and children are feared to be victims of infections, why is it that some communities are reportedly still averse to have their children vaccinated?

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But the bad news lately is that some hospitals in the country had to close, because they could no longer afford to continue operations due to the massive debts of PhilHealth that was supposed to provide a lifeline to them. Have our Congressmen as well as our top officials, been breaking their heads in trying to render assistance to such hospitals? We know that hospitals cannot turn away patients even if they know these do not have the wherewithal to pay for their treatment and medicines. What will happen to pandemic victims if the hospitals in their areas are no longer operating?

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I hope our officials, especially our President, and all the members of both houses of Congress are not frozen in fear themselves so that they cannot think of means to help hospitals survive  and continue helping our people. And please, let us pray that they will not take their time before acting on this, because even children are now being known to have been stricken by this malady. And with classes already starting, the chances of infection  could be multiplied, unless our top officials, step in and give them all a big, big push!*

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