Barbie doll

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By May Anne Cacdac

When ‘Ish’ Meets ‘Weh’

Friday, February 15, 2013


MALEN Catajan and I call her “Barbie” owing to her height, slender frame and beauty.

I hope Senator Pia Cayetano is not insulted by the nickname. The original Barbie doll, after all, does not have a law degree and will never make it to the Philippine Senate or any Senate for that matter. Moreover, the original doll only has a “Gym Barbie” version, such a far cry to the numerous achievements the lady senator has as a triathlete.

Senator Pia was in town last week to touch base with several lady journalists and municipal health workers from the city and Benguet. On the side, she was in town to participate, her second time, in fact, in the Philippine Skyrunning Association’s Pilipinas Akyathlon at Mt. Ugo in Tinongdan, Itogon.

Talk about having it all – beauty, brains, brawn.

Senator Pia spoke rather animatedly about her son. “From here we go see the horses. He’s been wanting to see horses. His favorite word right now is ‘kabayo’.”

Her tone changed to assertive though when she spoke on another one of her passions – health care.

Fresh from the passage of the controversial Republic Act 10354 or the Reproductive Health Act, Senator Pia said she’s not expecting the benefits of the law to happen overnight. She shared she’s been doing the rounds and will continue to do the rounds in the country to give more updates regarding the act she fought hard for. But the passage is definitely a good start, she stressed.

Barbie is also batting constantly for every Filipino to be enrolled with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth as it is more popularly known to us. This as she stressed the Sin Tax bill is important since money will go to health care and health promotion.

“It’s funny that companies have the resources to market unhealthy products while government doesn’t have the money for health promotion,” she said.

Senator Pia also cited benefits of government run hospitals if converted into government owned and controlled corporation.

One, it means improved facilities and equipment and two, it makes for speedier decision-making.

“What good is it if every Filipino is insured by PhilHealth but we have ill-equipped hospitals to serve us?”

Makes sense now that she pointed it out.

Talks about the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center being privatized have quieted down but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the probability of it happening is far-fetched.

The lady solon, however, clarified she hasn’t spoken to experts on the prospect of converting a public hospital to a private one. “But a hospital as a GOCC could work and they must be PhilHealth accredited,” she stressed. GOCC hospitals include the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and just recently the Western Visayas Medical Center.

Before leaving, Senator Pia volunteered to ask for a lady mixed martial arts for us after learning about our almost feeble quests to get fit. We declined no matter how gracious she was.

Let me and Malen get lost in our delusion that jogging a few miles now and then is tantamount to an Olympic medal.

We try and that’s the least we can do especially when confronted with a species akin to Barbie.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2013.

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