Healthcare Can Spell Victory for the OFW/OF Nation-led Slates

by Bobby Reyes

Baguio General Hospital | Photo by Raani Paranas via Wikimedia Commons

Part II of the “ReVOTElution of H.O.P.E.” Series

So many Filipino pundits admit that Overseas-Filipino workers (OFW) and the Overseas-Filipino (OF) Nation can muster more than enough votes among their kin and friends in the Philippines to win national positions. After all, the OFWs and the OF Nation number over 16-million individuals.

Here are the votes garnered by the top-3 presidential candidates in the 2016 election: The winner, then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, of the PDP-Laban Party obtained 16,601,997 votes (or 39.01% of the votes cast). The runner-up, Mar Roxas, of the Liberal Party got 9,978,176 votes (23.45%), and the third was Sen. Grace Poe, an independent candidate, who had 9,100,991 votes (21.39%).

The strategy is to persuade most OFWs and the Overseas Filipinos to contact their kin and friends in the homeland to consider supporting and voting, the OFW/OF-led slates. They can write to them, talk to (or chat with) them by Messenger or FaceTime and even by long-distance phone calls.

In 2003, then-presidential aspirant Sen. Nene Pimentel asked this writer to head the senatorial slate of Mr. Pimentel’s party, the PDP-Laban, in the 2004 election. As a result, many Filipino-American supporters of Senator Pimentel started organizing a “Letter-writing Brigade” for their kin and friends in the Philippines. One of them was Ernie Delfin, CPA, a columnist and prime mover of an e-Rotary Club based in Fountain Valley, CA. He suggested that Overseas Filipinos tell their kin in the Philippines, “If you don’t support our chosen candidates, we will stop sending to you the Balikbayan boxes containing canned goods, clothing and other supplies.” Mr. Delfin opined that it would be a strong motivation for the kin in the Philippines to support the OFW/OF-led slates. But, unfortunately, the Delfin proposal could not be tested, as Mr. Pimentel decided to end his presidential campaign and support movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr., instead. And many OFWs and Overseas Filipinos became indifferent to the Poe presidential candidacy.

Healthcare will become the paramount issue in severe issues against the present Filipino national policy and decision-makers. It is public knowledge that the Trapos (Filipino euphemism for “Traditional Politicians”) do nothing but line up their pockets with pork-barrel and discretionary funds. The Trapos tolerate the corruption embraced by The Imperial Manila tycoons and taipans — as they share in the division of the “loot.”

Campaign issues

Here are just three of the many campaign issues against the Do-Nothing Trapos and their corporate cronies:

  • Metro Manila remains the “Homeless Capital of the World” (as discussed previously in this column). There are more than 3.1-million homeless residents (with some 700,000 children among them), many of whom are unemployed and/or underemployed. This has been going on for ages.
  • The Philippines has also allegedly become the “Extra-judicial killing (EJK) Capital of the World” because of substance abuse and politics. As Googled, “Official records from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency give the number of deaths from July 2016 to November 2018 from the anti-drug campaign as 5,050. Human rights groups have put the number of killings at 20,000, including vigilante-style killings.” The estimates were just for a period of two years and four months. Three more years would have elapsed by November 2021. The EJK incidents have remained constant, if not on an elevated scale. The Trapos know that drug addiction is considered a disease in many developed countries and is not a criminal offense that merits capital punishment as a sentence (by extra-judicial means).
  • The pandemic caused by COVID-19 disease has increased the economic misery of the country. And it has so far — as per official data (of June 18, 2021) — suffered 1.35-million cases with 1.27-million recovered patients and 23,538 deaths (and counting). However, many Filipinos say that only God knows how many COVID victims there were/are in their homeland. Therefore, it would appear that the Filipino leaders have adopted the “IBOD Strategy” used by disgraced U.S. President Trump, who was soundly defeated in his reelection bid primarily because of the pandemic. The IBOD (as I coined it) means Ignore, Blame Others, and Distract strategy. And this why I also coined the moniker “COVIDiot-45” for Mr. Trump.

The number-one priority of a new Philippine government is to guarantee the people a simplified version of a Universal Healthcare System (UHS). After all, healthcare is Priority No.1. Because a government cannot guarantee the protection of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness if the citizens are getting sick and dying.

Universal Healthcare System

Here is a suggested template for the UHS, as patterned after his proposal when this writer ran for governor of Sorsogon in 2016:

We pledge to do ten or more steps starting on July 1, 2022, and provide leadership in making Filipinos the healthiest-and-happiest Asians — as published and discussed more in the DrRizal.com/HMO Proposal for Sorsogon and the PH at this link.

The 10-Point Program

  • Formally start a province-based health-maintenance organization (HMO), which will provide a preventive healthcare system for its members (subscribers). The provincial-hospital system of every province will become the nucleus of such an HMO.
  • Sign the Provincial Patients’ Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, guaranteeing the people at least semi-annual medical, dental, and other medical examinations and appropriate treatments for those who need them.
    • The national value-added tax (VAT) provincial share will be used 100% for the HMO project. In 2018, Sorsogon Province collected 1.4-billion pesos as its 40% share of the VAT.
  • Start administering TB, STD, other pandemic-and-drug tests to all residents and workers in the province. Those found positive will be treated or helped in overcoming their addiction or disease. I wrote already in this column how to fund the vaccination (against the COVID-19 disease) of 90-million Filipinos in 90 days at this link.
  • Declare cigarettes and other tobacco products as poison and ban their entry, sale, and consumption in the province. Help will be provided to those who have difficulty stopping smoking; they will be given nicotine patches and other medical aids.
    • Start producing reusable-and-washable cloth facemasks for the use of the HMO-cooperative members and OFWs. And in at least two state-of-the-art MedCenters’s Research and Development Division, produce vaccines and therapeutic medicines — at first under license and/or by reverse engineering.
  • Start the process of producing fruit wine. Students and farmers to produce locally-grown ingredients for drinks like piñacoladas (our reason for registering the domain name www.2pinacoladas.com).
  • Begin the organization of schools of medicine, nursing, and other medical fields of studies (as a component of the “MedCenter” Project). Students are given access to educational loans payable only after they graduate and start working in our HMO, a voluntary rate of interest paid.
    • The goal is to graduate at least 3-million new trained and board-certified nurses and 100,000 physicians plus 1-million other medical professionals from 2024-2030. However, the world faces a shortage of at least 6-million nurses by 2030 — per the World Health Organization studies (WHO).
  • Start the operation of a Research and Development (R&D) Center, which will conduct studies on the manufacture of natural medicine and herbal products; and the ancient Pacific-islander diet, among other medical and scientific matters. And vaccine-viral medications.
  • Start the cultivation of more herbal plants and begin their processing into products geared for export to the entire PH and abroad, under the domain name www.herbalixir.com.
    • All Parents-Teachers Associations (PTA) will be turned into cooperatives to produce not only cash crops (such as vegetables and sweet potatoes) and permanent trees like cacao to produce chocolate and raise goats to produce milk as part of student-and-PTA meals.
  • Reopen the Provincial Hospital’s TB and Infectious Diseases Pavilions (with isolation wards and specialized ICUs) and relocate them to a site near a beach. There will also be drug rehab centers and other medical facilities.
  • Begin a methodical campaign to make the Philippines the first mosquito-free country in ASEAN by 2030-to-2040 and start producing plant-based insect repellent, insecticides, and pesticides (from starfish and other marine animals) that will lead to declaring the Philippines the “first organic country” in the ASEAN, if not in entire Asia.

Please note that the first six months of 2022 will also educate Filipinos on the said 10-point program and upgrade feasibility studies and business plans. And persuading the provincial-based medical professionals and government offices to join and/or support HMO co-ops.

We will also discuss other viable funding sources from public and private sources, this “Medical Evolution” in this series coming episodes. And elevating the compensation of medical personnel so that they would not go abroad to seek greener pastures, to use an adage.

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