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Baguio patients offer ways to enhance Angara bill

MEMBERS of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Dialysis Patients and Partners Association offered suggestions to Senator Sonny Angara to enhance the lawmaker’s bill that would require all the government hospitals to provide free

dialysis treatment for poor patients in the country. Dialysis is necessary to patients with kidney failure. It gave patients chance to live.

In a letter to Angara dated April 21, association president Ramon Dacawi lauded the senator for taking the cudgels for the thousands of dialysis patients in the country and recommended ways to “enrich the bill and make it more effective in achieving its purpose.”

Dacawi proposed that the treatment be made free for all patients whether indigent or not. He said this can be attained if all the funds provided by the Philhealth and the Department of Health being accessed through the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives will be pooled into one fund source to propel a unified free dialysis program. “Free dialysis (for all) is practical and attainable given the fact that Philhealth already provides 90 free dialysis sessions per year for member-patients and the shortfall in the yearly requirement can be covered by the collective DOH fund (formerly the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF) accessed through the senators and congressmen to realize a nationwide year-round free dialysis health policy,” Dacawi said.

He said patients turn to lawmakers to cover the deficiency in their Philhealth allocation but there were many, who were not aware or do not have access to these sources given the voluminous papers patients have to submit. The bill’s provision that only patients who are indigent or whose combined family income does not exceed P30,000 a month should also be reconsidered. “Even families with monthly income higher than P30,000 per month cannot cope with the financial requirements of maintaining the dialysis treatment of a family member, more so if the patient is the father or the mother who because of his or her condition can no longer work as the sole or main breadwinner thereby drastically reducing or even totally removing the family income,” he said.

One dialysis session costs P2,200 and a patient undergoes two or three or even four times a week. This does not include the twice-a-week Epoetin injection at P1,100 per vial plus the maintenance medicines, blood transfusion and hospitalization. On the proposal to establish dialysis centers in key medical centers, Dacawi said it “is in order but it will take time for all government provincial hospitals to establish (these).”

“With these reasons, we are hopeful that Your Honor would strengthen the bill by making dialysis free for all patients because of its nature as an emergency, life-saving procedure,” Dacawi told the senator. Dacawi, with the media group Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club and the Philippine Information Agency Cordillera, spearheaded the signature campaign launched last January to convince national leaders and health offices to adopt a unified free dialysis program in the country.

At present the campaign has produced over 40,000 signatures and counting from all over the country and overseas even as more groups and individuals have initiated their own drives to support the advocacy. Last week, Braulio Comelab, an Australian expatriate and member of the BIBAK Melbourne Branch met with Dacawi and pledged to initiate his own campaign in his adoptive country. Several local government units in the region also passed resolutions of support to the cause. (PR) (From Sunstar Baguio)


Baguio Tourist Attractions

Marker of the Philippine Commission's First Session in Baguio

This is the site of the building where the members of the Philippine Commission met from April 22 to June 11, 1904 and officially initiated the use of Baguio as the Philippine Summer Capital. The Commission was composed of Governor General Luke Wright, president, and Commissioners Henry Ide, Dean C. Worcester, T Padre Tavera, Benito Legarda, Jose de Luzuriaga, James Smith and Cameron Forbes.

Kennon Road and its Builder

Tourist-Spots-in-BaguioNamed after Col. Lyman W. Kennon, who was the final builder of the famous Benguet road, with the help of the industrious Cordillerans and foreign workers. Kennon road is the shortest and the most scenic highway linking Baguio and the lowlands. The lion's head can be found along the way. Final construction of this road was finished in 1903. Col. L. Kennon first ascended to Baguio in 1905. Of the original workers, the Igorots and Japanese were admired for their trustworthiness and willingness to work. Kennon was closed to traffic after the July 16, 1990 earthquake. It is now open to light vehicles only.

Diplomat Hotel on Dominican Hill

diplomatIn May 1911, the councils of the Province of the Dominican Order voted to construct a vacation house in Baguio on a 17-hectare property they had acquired when the American authorities were encouraging people to come here. Actual work started in 1913 under Fr. Roque Ruano and the building was inaugurated on May 23, 1925. To take advantage of the tax exemptions a school called Collegio del Santissimo Rosario was opened in June 1915 but due to the very small enrollment the school closed in 1917, reverting the building to the original vacation house. During WWII refugees first occupied it. Later the Japanese Army Liberation Forces had to bomb out the refugees from the buildings. The five hits left very extensive damage and for a time it was left unrepaired. Reconstruction was started in 1947 and completed in 1948 with most of its pre-war grandeur and beauty restored. In 1973, Diplomat Hotels, Inc. acquired ownership, remodeled the interior into a 33-bedroom hotel with modern facilities, but retained the unique and distinct personality of the Dominican Hill. In the 80's the hotel ceased operations due to the death of one of its majority stockholders. Plans are underway to develop this historical religious landmark into a tourist resort.

Philippine Military Academy

PMAThe Philippine Commission promulgated Act No. 175, which became the basis for the creation of the Philippine Constabulary in August 8, 1905. The school for the officers of the constabulary was first located in Sta. Lucia Barracks in Manila. Later in 1908, it was relocated in Baguio on the site known as Constabulary Hill later renamed Camp Henry T. Allen, in honor of the first chief of the Philippine Constabulary. With the passage of the Jones Law, the school was later changed to "Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary" with a two-year curriculum. In 1908, the course was raised to collegiate level and later lengthened to three years with class 1938 as having the last graduates of that course. When the commonwealth government was established in 1935, the Philippine Military Academy was created in place of the Philippine Constabulary Academy. Under the National Defense Act, the PMA was authorized to maintain cadet strength of 350. Because of increased population, the academy transferred to Teachers Camp in June 1936 where it remained until WWII broke out. After the war the PMA headquarters was temporarily relocated at Camp Murphy and later at Alabang, while Camp Allen was being rehabilitated. Since May 1950 the Philippine Military Academy has found its permanent home at Fort del Pilar, Loakan, Baguio City.

The Mansion

The-Mansion-Baguio-CityThis imposing and majestic mansion has a long list of Filipino Presidents and American governor-generals. It has elegantly structured building and guesthouse. Its gate is patterned after that of London's Buckingham Palace. The Mansion has also been the site of several international conferences and a working office of the President of the Philippines during his visits to the City.

Camp John Hay

camp-john-hay-amphitheaterThis former American recreational facility is currently undergoing development as a world class resort. As of March 27, 1999, the golf course was completed and is now open, The skating rink, picnic area, and the mini golf course at the Scout Hill area are likewise open.

Asin Hot Spring

Located 16 kilometers northwest of Baguio, the resort's main feature is a swimming pool surrounded by thermal springs, lush vegetation and several hanging bridges. It is an ideal respite. This is now eyed to be redeveloped into a tourism resort along with the adjoining tourist attractions of Tuba and Baguio.

Bell Church

The-Bell-Church-of-Baguio-CityThis cluster of temples is located on the border of Baguio City and Trinidad Valley. Its exotic oriental architecture, pagodas roof, ornate gateway, dragon ornaments and Buddha - guarded windows gaze from atop a hill. The Bell Temple priest practices a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity. One may even try having his fortune told.

Burnham Park

Burnham-Park-BaguioIt is the oldest of all Baguio parks. One can unwind from the tension of the day-to-day bustle by biking, skating or simply reflecting on the day's experiences amid a soothing garden backdrop of colorful flowers. It is thickly wooded and is a great place to have picnics and concerts. There are tennis and basketball courts, a football field, athletic oval and an orchidarium.

Mines View Park

Mines-View-Park-Baguio-CityAppropriately named for its breathtaking view of Benguet's mountain ranges where gold, silver and other ores were once quarried. There are souvenir shops around the park offering such items as woodcarvings, woven cloth, ashtrays, shell products and other curio items.

Wright Park

It is sometimes mistakenly called "Ride Park" by some that identify this pine tree park reserve for kiddy horse rides. A long stairway leads to the "Pool of the Pines", a 100 meter long pool of water lined on both sides by the famous Baguio towering pine.