Thursday, April 26, 2007

In 2004 PGMA said...

In her speech at the PICC on February 26, 2004, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo beamed as she related to the assembled Family Medicine physicians her experience as a daughter of a doctor:
I want to let all of you know how important our physicians to my family. First of all my mother herself was a physician. And so I understand the importance of physicians. My mother was a physician who when she married my father decided that she would be the exclusive -- no, not that she would be exclusive per se but her exclusive clients, her patients would be exclusively my father and her children, ourselves -- so, she was our primary family physician. But because she was a physician, she also got other doctors to be our family physician. So, she taught us the importance of family physicians.
Later she tells the crowd:
Like you, I have been fighting and working for the good of the Filipino family especially the poor and the average Filipino family for they form the backbone of the Filipino nation.

Lahat tayo pati kayo may pamilya rin. Yung mga pamilyang inaalagaan ninyo pati na rin yung inyong sariling pamilya, lahat tayong mga pamilyang Pilipino gusto ng pagbabago. At ang pagbabagong hinahangad ay tungkol sa pangkabuhayan, trabaho, presyo, hanapbuhay, kalusugan. Kalaban ng karaniwang Pilipino ay kahirapan, gutom, sakit, pati na rin ang moral decay.
Finally, she declares:
Yes, I will fight for unprecedented change that makes us more secure in our health, strengthens our families, and stamps out corruption, to gain for all Filipino families the kind of respect that our doctors and others in the medical profession have earned all around the world.
Three years later, it remains to be seen whether there really was a struggle to bring about that so-called unprecedented change.

Winnie Monsod talks recently about government-controlled PNCC assuming additional debt, begging the question "Incompetence or corruption?"

Conrado de Quiros discusses the potential long-term havoc that migration and "brain drain" would bring. "Many people from various walks of life -- doctors, flight attendants, print journalists, TV reporters, lawyers and even bankers... probably figure wearing a blue collar elsewhere is better than wearing a dog collar at home."

And reelectionist Ralph Recto, in a stroke of genius, recently proposed a "study now pay later plan" "that can be repaid by the physicians by rendering several years of service in public hospitals or in rural health service," similar to the Bagong Doktor Para Sa Bayan program of FG Mike Arroyo.

I am sarcastic, because I feel that this would be another shortsighted stop-gap measure to get some pogi points out of the medical exodus. Making medical education free would not necessarily increase enrollment. The average college graduate, without any rich parents to support him towards a degree Law or Medicine, would find that even with the foregone income, he would still be earning more in a call center in 5 years. And naturally, for most of the graduates that have financial support, they will ignore the scholarships for the golden ball and chain that they really are.

Simpler solutions: increase health care spending, increase salaries, staffing levels and bed capacities, and increase awareness of health among the people. That includes the realization that if you are not able to provide for another child, then by all means, do not procreate already!

I cannot say if we are worse off than three years ago in terms of health care. But the exodus of doctors, already being trumpeted for a good number of years as a "catastrophic event", is continuing.

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