The day JVR visited the hospital

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


HOW often do you see a mayor go to a public hospital and check on every patient?

Johnny V. de los Reyes, mayor of Talisay City, did just that yesterday. From his office at the City Hall, he went to the Talisay District Hospital and doled out money to indigent patients and meal coupons to their "bantay."

It wasn't a big amount, just between P200 and P300 per patient, but that amount was manna from heaven for someone who did not have enough money to buy the medicine prescribed by his doctor.

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But if JVR, as the mayor is addressed, gave every indigent patient at the Talisay District Hospital either that amount, then it was quite a substantial sum the mayor pulled out from his pockets.

Superbalita Cebu correspondent Dennes Tabar, who covered the distribution of money at the Talisay District Hospital, said JVR had with him a thick wad of P100 bills he had tied with a rubber band.

The mayor told Tabar that he was going to the hospital to give money to the poor. JVR said he had been bringing the money with him and feared that he would spend it on something other than what it was intended for.

"Kapoya na sige og bitbit aning kwartaha. Magasto unya ni nako" was how the newbie mayor of Talisay said it to Tabar. JVR also had with him a wad of meal coupons with a value of P20 each. The meal coupon is honored at a canteen near the hospital.

JVR said the money is from the sales of his medicinal products. For every medicinal product sold, he allots P2 for an indigent patient. His most popular medicinal product is Canker Sore Drops, which sells for P25 at factory price. Selling Canker Sore Drops has made JVR a rich man.

Even before he became mayor, JVR said he has been doling out money to the poor. He's been doing it for 20 years. Within those 20 years, he put up five political campaigns and succeeded only in the fifth. That's why he's mayor now.

JVR may lack the management skills for running a big, progressive city like Talisay but he has never fallen short of kindness and generosity. He feels for those truly in need. Ask anyone who knows him.

He has set up a simple medical assistance program for indigent constituents. He gives them coupons that they can present to the Talisay District Hospital to be able to avail themselves of medical care. The coupons can amount to P1,500, already a huge sum to a family without resources to bring a sick member to a public hospital for medical care.

When the Talisay District Hospital had refused to honor the coupons because the Talisay City Government still owed the hospital P7 million, JVR became livid. He said if the Talisay District Hospital, a public hospital, refuses to attend to a sick indigent, then the poor have nowhere to go for medical care. He told the hospital he would have the City Government settle the obligation the soonest but the sick needed to be attended to at once, bahala na ang utang.

A sum of P200 or P300 may be a paltry sum for medical care, but when you only have piso or singko in your pocket, that's like a million pesos. And when it's the mayor himself who gives it to you, you feel your faith in government restored.

JVR said it's not people's money he uses to spend on people's needs. He said he's not politicking when he gives them money.

He's doing what he thinks is best, and that as their mayor, he makes their lives a little less difficult than it already is. Anyone who questions this intention may be the one guilty of politicking.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2014.

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