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Dialysis for the people

The hemodialysis unit of the Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Project 4, Quezon City has recently been inaugurated, and its banners announced that kidney patients can already avail of its services for an "affordable" amount of two thousand pesos per session.

I've never had a good laugh in recent times and this is one that makes my list longer. Bad bad joke. You can call it misleading the consumer or betrayal or even heresy, but this is one (pun intended) sick joke.

I used to know of a patient who goes to a private dialysis foundation twice a week with the same rate as that of Quirino's and what black hole did it do to his finances. When did a 2,000-peso dialysis session become affordable in the first place? I expect it to be in the hundreds range at the most, and free at best in government hospitals. Looks like the government has deleted the word "subsidy" in their dictionaries.

Which brings me to my second, and related point. There was this friend-of-a-friend supervisor from the National Power Corporation who's got three cars, a three-storey house in Napocor Village, stainless steel railings, narra lanais and all. I cringed at what my friend told me, and when he was saying "utang natin yan" while I conjured images of our dingy apartment with no water service and high electricity bills, I felt like a fallen activist still truncheoned to bleeding by a fascist police.

Just do the math: about a third of an ordinary employee's salary is automatically deducted as income tax. This forms part of the nation's coffers to be distributed to government agencies, to government corporations such as Napocor. Napocor is in deep shit and constitutes 42% of the national debt. A Napocor driver earns 20,000 pesos per month. They leach the national budget of its allocations intended for basic services such as free hospitalization and "affordable" hemodialysis sessions.

A few subtractions and a financial adaptation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle stating that money can neither exist as additional classrooms or nice police officers but can be found in some politician's pocket in one way or another, and there you have it, a two-thousand pesos hemodialysis service in a decrepit public hospital which boasts a landscaped waterfall in its facade.

I am not advocating for a welfare state but seeing where one-third of my daily grind goes not to decent living for teachers or the children's ward at the Philippine General Hospital, or even zeroing the national debt, why should I participate in some congresswoman's political agenda masked as medical missions and useless waste management schemes which used to be a big billboard in the corner of J.P. Rizal and P. Tuazon streets during the election season?

Why donate some of my wages to fill in the budget deficit when I was already taxed the moment I was born*, and probably until my last breath and the literary legacy that I will leave with this blog, and all I can do is sigh because there seems to be not enough MRT trains during rush hour and the smell of Payatas garbage still finds its way to my laundry even if I lived in another city?

*Used to be that my father bought documentary stamps for my birth certificate. Now you can pay through the bank and have the certificate delivered. Still the same, we pay. No wonder the solons are mum on the population issue. More people, more taxes to collect.

“Dialysis for the people”