‘We need an effective healthcare system’

Published April 17, 2021, 12:12 AM

by Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid


Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid

This,  Dr. Tony Leachon, former adviser to the National COVID-19 Task Force noted,   is the country’s most  pressing need.  And former Secretary of Health as well as Social Welfare and Development Dr. Esperanza Cabral, narrating the stories of her patients who were denied access to health care services in our hospitals agreed. Citing RA 8344, which stated that “you cannot turn away patients without first stabilizing him or her and that if the patient needs admission but cannot be accommodated, the hospital is obligated to arrange for transfer to another facility.” She apologized to everybody and sympathizes with our hospitals, but the care of patients takes precedence over all other difficulties, she noted.

Dr. Leachon also narrated the experience of actress Jean Garcia whose mother was turned away by 10 hospitals. The mother finally transpired after getting admitted  at the Cardinal Santos Hospital.

Both Drs. Cabral and Leachon (who has a weekly conversation on COVID-19 updates on Facebook), are TOFIL (The Outstanding Filipino) awardees. Dr. Espie is also a TOWNs (The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service) and an eminent cardiologist and clinical pharmacologist.

Perhaps, as a response to the above, and feedback from various citizens’ groups, Malacañang, in its briefing a few days ago, noted that 61 percent of modular facilities are being used and that there are plans to convert stadiums into vaccination sites. NCR LGUs have committed to increase the number of beds available for COVID patients.

On procurement of vaccines, several million doses of Moderna, AstraZeneka and Sinovac had been ordered and negotiations are ongoing  to acquire  Pfizer vaccine, according to Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez.

But the public needs to be assured about issues such as transparency in governance.  Is Malacañang being forthright about the President’s health? Is a question asked by many. In fact, 65 percent believes that the president’s health is a public matter and therefore should be divulged.

Health professionals would have preferred extending ECQ for another two weeks. But the pressure from those worried about the implications of lockdown on the economy had again prevailed.


Two more illustrious members of media and communication recently passed away.  UP Professor Emeritus Dr. Felix Librero and former Chancellor of UP Open University died of cardiac arrest leaving an enviable  legacy to thousands of students he had mentored. A humble son of Batanes, he was Chairperson and Dean of UP Development Communication where he served for many years, and where I met him as a fellow faculty member.

Before Carlos (Choy) Arnaldo joined UNESCO where we were colleagues in the mid-70s up to the 90’s, he was program manager at Radio Veritas and later, night editor at ABS-CBN. Before he became Section Chief of Communication Research and Policies, he spent time helping countries in the Carribean, Africa, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, among many others,  set up community radio and newspapers. In the Philippines, he facilitated the organization and strengthening of a network of rural radio stations, (Tambuli), together with Lex Librero and Louie Tabing. Upon retirement, he returned to the country and became Dean of Enderun Colleges in Taguig.

When I last heard from him two years ago, he told me about a  project that he was most proud of as it addresses our most serious problem – poverty. The “Youth Inclusion Network” is a network of some 30 industrial companies and  patterned after an Enderun partner group which  provides OJT training for youth. Choy’s advocacy was “aiming at the bottom of the pyramid” which is reaching out to the differently abled, blind, deaf, and mute, physically handicapped and giving them life skills in such areas as IT sourcing, energy sources, food management, etc.

My friend, Ed Garcia, describes his “companion” and fellow ex-Jesuit seminarian as a “brilliant student and a brilliant communicator.”

Choy, I am sure your legacy never be forgotten.

Much saddened to receive word a few minutes ago about the demise of my good friend, Atty. Teresita Cruz-Sison. I met Tessie way back in the mid-sixties when we were both members of the newly organized Citizens’ Council for Mass Media (CCMM). Several decades later, we found ourselves  trustees of the Justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma Foundation (JCMPF). Tessie, a highly respected lawyer and civic leader is a  graduate of the UP College of Law. She was once a member of the Judicial Bar Council,a body that recommends appointees to the Supreme Court and the lower courts.  May you finally have your much-deserved rest, my lovely friend.

My e-mail, [email protected]