Poor deserve swift PCSO help
MY WIFE is undergoing dialysis treatment twice a week in a private hospital here in Baliuag, Bulacan. Her 90 dialysis sessions per annum is covered by my PhilHealth membership card which I obtained as a senior citizen, through the PhilHealth office in Malolos City in 30 minutes.
Because we are poor, I have to seek assistance for the remaining 14 dialysis sessions, including cost of medicines. I used to apply for these benefits at the PCSO head office in Quezon City. For this, I had to leave Baliuag as early as 2 a.m. to be able to fall in line with other applicants at 4:30 a.m. In spite of being a senior citizen, the long wait for the interview would last until just before lunch (nonseniors spend a longer time). However, I had to return again on a date specified on my claim stub, normally after four weeks, to receive the “guarantee letter” for my wife’s treatment. (At least, I didn’t have to spend two nights waiting for the issuance of my wife’s guarantee letter.)
When the PCSO decided that the filing of applications must be done in the PCSO office nearest to where the applicant resides, I thought this was a great relief for us living outside of Metro Manila. I was wrong. Since I can no longer apply in behalf of my wife due to my frail medical condition, she decided to do the filing herself. She was warned though by others that she should be ready to line up and spend two nights at the PCSO Malolos branch to get the coveted guarantee letter.
So, in the afternoon of June 8, my wife, a PWD (person with disability) cardholder, left home for PCSO Malolos. Lo and behold! To make sure she would not lose her line the following day, she was forced to sleep, together with other applicants, on the pavement of the PCSO office. (Please note: PCSO Malolos is located along a busy street inside the Bulacan capitol grounds. Motorists and pedestrians alike can empathize with these poor applicants seeing them sleeping on the pavement of the PCSO Malolos office.)
She returned home early morning of June 9. But she needed to go back to PCSO Malolos that same day and line up again and spend that night again on the office’s pavement to make sure of getting her guarantee letter the following morning, June 10.
Although we are seeking financial assistance for free, I believe poor applicants deserve better treatment from the PCSO. With a daily quota of 30 applicants, including five senior citizens, I cannot understand why the need to sleep two consecutive nights on a pavement to get a guarantee letter, no matter how much it’s needed. There must be a faster way of processing applications for a guarantee letter to spare applicants the “normal” 48-hour wait at PCSO offices.
I am appealing therefore to new President Rodrigo Duterte, or whomever he will appoint as new PCSO chair and general manager, to take pity of the poor people seeking financial and medical assistance from the PCSO Malolos office.
—ANTONIO C. BAUTISTA,Sto. Niño, Baliuag, Bulacan
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