Monday, April 16, 2007

Evening Thoughts

Let me tell you what goes on in my mind late in the evening at the end of a tough campaign day waged in 100 degree (37 Celsius) weather, nutrition complements of Jollibee, fresh running water available only once during the entire 14 hour period with of course no soap…what am I doing here? Far from my wife and daughters, my friends, my books and my gin. How my life has changed!

But this campaign has allowed me to see things that would never have been available at youtube. Those of us who live in Metro Manila should be required to take a field trip to the poor areas of Mindanao and Visayas. Every public official must be made to witness and subsequently experience the deplorable living conditions that result from their leadership.

Things are not going to get better. We are not planning sufficiently for the future. When we allocate from the budget 28% to debt service and 1% to health and 11% towards education we betray our national inferiority complex. How else do you explain giving the highest priority towards satisfying our creditors at the expense of crippling successive generations?

Let me show you why this is a “killer” policy. If we were just to cut interest payments by one percentage point and move this amount (approximately PhP12 billion) to health, we would be doubling our budget for healthcare. To illustrate, every single day, 75 Filipinos die from tuberculosis. If we were to make widely available the 4 anti-TB medications (INH, pyrazinamide, ethambutol and rifampin) at a cost of PhP2 billion, we would potentially cut in half the mortality rate of tuberculosis, 13,000 less deaths each year. Can anyone clinically dispute the cost-effectiveness of such a policy?

I have heard a lot of talk and a lot of promises from all these traditional politicians and nobody ever makes a disclaimer that she or he has been around all these years and is precisely part of the problem. Why should the electorate expect them to undergo a conversion during this brief campaign season? The hour is late.


shark said...

Brod Martin, it takes political will, lack of vested interests, and a sincere understanding of what is needed to convince everybody that health care is an investment.

PGH, for example, has not increased its resident staffing levels in 20 years inspite of it being a major tertiary referral center and the only option for residents in Las Pinas, and Cavite where there is a dearth of government health care providers.

Your 2nd ANC sojourn was limited, in the sense that your responses seemed unwieldy compared to the polished but ambiguous and empty responses especially from Pichay. Both apologists for failed government policy, they did not impress Jaime Galvez-Tan one bit. Your constant message is clear - health care is an investment.

Anonymous said...

As I am just an incoming 3rd year college student, a degree of Physical Therapy, I know how much money would be needed for our healthcare and education to improve, and yet, the government DOES put a blind eye on it, placing more problems to our own generation, many people of my own age and our generation have been out of school youths just because the government could not provide an ample amount of educational facilities, even a library with college-used books would be sufficient for ex-students to still make use of their precious time instead of drinking alcohol.

True, your 1% deduction would really be a great help. Since the 28% budget would only pay our interest in the world bank, we should just lessen it, I even think that we should just add more debt just to invest for our future generations, my honest and humble opinion only.

Sad to say but the masa is easily brainwashed by popular celebrities, or even with flashy campaigns, I would really like the officials to think the way you do yours.

Pamby/Mapua said...

Dr. Bautista: My economics professor says that the Philippines is bound by legal contracts to the payments. But I agree with you : forget the contracts (the lenders are not Mafiosi, anyway, right???). And I agree with benski so instead of medicine, just use the money for libraries and books to feed the brain. Triage! Today's youth is the future.

Martin D. Bautista, M.D. said...

pamby/mapua I agree that we are bound by contracts but remember these were signed under virtual duress by well-meaning but weak persons who could not negotiate on an even basis because of limitations placed upon them beforehand (like the Automatic Appropriations Law). when we say we are pro-life we need to include the lives of the 75 Filipinos who die each day from TB because we allocate only 1% of our budget towards healthcare.

Anonymous said...

Even though we have a high prevalent and incident rate of PTB most pinoy doctors doesn't know the proper way to diagnosed and managed the disease. a child presenting with a prolonged cough and cervical lymphadenopathy would have a high chance of being prescribed a quadruple therapy even without the benefit of a PPD reading or a chest xray.

Anonymous said...

to quote pamby/mapua,

I wasn't saying that we should skip the healthcare in the equation, I just want how much of the budget would be split between education and healthcare.

Oh, and for the budget people, I don't think the budget for the improvements of roads and highways costs wisely, most of the workers slack off on their jobs as we pass through the streets where they are working on, what a waste of time and money. I think they should just hire workers whom they know with a foreman that they trust so that the roads would NOT be a bother for so much. Our street leading outside of our village took 4 years to get fixed, wow, that was my entire high school life for a bridge of 2 lanes only. And how I always see those slackers on the loose, smoking and or playing basketball in the court nearby.

that was out of topic, but my main point is there should be NO MORE PORK BARREL. *hater* =)

BraveHeart said...


i admire the guts you shown at ANC. This may be off-topic but how can i have a shirt of yours as a voting paraphernalia? id be proud of it wearing it around.


ps. i still remember my socsci2; "philosopher must be king."

pamby/mapua said...

benski : kapag naging batas iyong "Magna Carta Patient Bill of Rights Bill" ni Villar, libre and magpagamot sa ospital. Maski ayaw mong magbayad, hindi ka puwedeng pigiling umalis sa ospital kung gusto mo nang umuwi.

[Malas na lang nang mga doktor at nurses at baka ibaba ang suweldo nila kung mahirapang mangolekta ng utang ang mga ospital.]