THE number of signatories to the petition to make dialysis a free treatment in the country hit the 10,000 mark over the week and is expected to increase further as the campaign finds momentum in other provinces in the region.
Out of concern for the increasing number of kidney disease patients, more people are volunteering to do the legwork to pass on copies of the petition to their own friends and co-residents and gather more signatures.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Vice Mayor Edison Bilog and all the city councilors who earlier approved a resolution of support to the campaign agreed to set up sign-up nooks in their offices to boost the drive.
For his part, Rep. Marquez Go said he has begun coordinating with the agencies directly involved in the grant of dialysis assistance on how they can pool their resources and come up with a unified program.
Go added he is also consulting with the Senate on the possibility of tying up the present clamor with a related senate bill earlier filed by Senator Sonny Angara known as the dialysis center act.
Government officials in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels in the region and in other parts of the country are encouraged to follow Baguio and La Trinidad town’s lead by approving resolutions requesting the Office of the President, the Senate and House of Representatives, the Department of Health, PhilHealth and other national government agencies to come up with a unified Free Dialysis Health Program for the whole country.
They may base their measures on the BCBC resolution that can be downloaded from the petition posted at the said website (www.change.org and search for free dialysis petition; or through the following link: www.change.org/p/urge-president-rodrigo-roa-duterte-make-dialysis-treatment-free-for-all-filipinos where people can also register their support.
The Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club Inc. (BCBC) and the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera (PIA-CAR) requested groups and individuals willing to mount their own campaign can download copies of the petition via the same website and link.
“We also call on Cordilleran expatriates to help spread the word and gather signatures using the same downloadable copies of the petition,” BCBC president Ramon Dacawi said.
The online petition at www.change.org has turned in 651 supporters from all over the country and the world thus far.
The sardonic remark of Renate Doth of Germany was right on the mark of the crux of the petition: “Medical care is not a privilege of the rich.”
Lorraine Laosinguan of Surigao said, “I am signing this because I don’t want the future generation (of hemodialysis patients) to die without having a chance to fight for their lives just because they cannot afford it.”
“Most patients are more worried on their financial problem than their own health or life,” Krisna Hana Belloza of Baguio quipped.
The accounts of those caught in the ordeal were most heart-rending.
“May anak po ako na 13 – years - old nagdidialysis tatlong beses sa isang linggo. Halos doon lang po napupunta ang sahod ko. Apat taon na ako hindi nauwi dahil kung ako ay uuwi wala syang pang dialysis,” lamented Richard Beldua, an Overseas Filipino Worker in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Maria Filipinas Millare said, “I am also a kidney dialysis patient and I fully agree with the dilemma cited in the petition. Each one of us is desperately in search of remedies to alleviate our sufferings, physically and financially.”
Sign-up sites are at the city public information office at the Baguio City Hall, PIA-CAR in front of the Mansion, Luisa’s Café along Session Road and the Baguio General Hospital dialysis section and Bookends along Calderon St. (Aileen Refuerzo/PIO)