Baguio-Benguet PCSO branch, a relief to thousands of patients

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013


THE recently opened Baguio-Benguet branch of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) near the city post office will stabilize operations soon, to the relief of thousands of indigent patients who no longer have to travel to Metro-Manila or to Urdaneta, Pangasinan for support from the charity service arm of the National Government.

Dr. Ernieli Dancel, Urdaneta branch manager who was designated to open and head the branch here, said the local office is into hiring personnel to normalize its operations. The recruitment, especially that of a social worker to evaluate medical support applications, was delayed due to the ban on hiring due to the recent elections.

She said that pending the hiring of augmentation personnel, the present staff of six continue to process applications for medical fund support averaging 15 to 20 a day.

Dancel said the PCSO board is also expected to adopt a policy upping the ceiling of medical support grants that can be approved by branch offices from P10,000 to P50,000 to give substance to the on-going decentralization scheme.

The PCSO recently transferred processing of fund support applications from its office at the Lung Center in Quezon City to its branch and regional offices to bring closer its services to the needy.

According to a resolution passed by the City Council last April, however, the decentralization scheme would be rendered ineffective unless a branch or two are also opened in the Cordillera and in Mindanao where, as per the website of the PCSO, no district or regional office is found.

The resolution, authored by City Councilor Peter Fianza, asked the immediate setting up of district and regional offices in the two regions, both of which belong the country's poorest.

With this omission, the resolution said, patients from Baguio and the Cordillera had to line up at the Urdaneta branch or in Cagayan Valley region, in the process competing for attention and support with the constituents of the two regions.

Fianza said that "juxtaposed to this inequity is the reality that patients from outside Baguio and the Cordillera, such as those coming from the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon, are drawn to Baguio City for their medical and hospital needs as the city is indisputable the medical center of Northern Luzon".

The resolution came on the heels of a letter-appeal from Mayor Mauricio Domogan asking the increase in the allocation for BGHMC patients in Urdaneta and the opening of a PCSO branch here. (Ramon Dacawi)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 19, 2013.

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