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TIMESMAN: Better late than never

THE President will respect the evidence-based findings of the multi-agency task force that investigated alleged anomalies in the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) “regardless of who is involved,” Malacanang said.

That’s good. But I have the suspicion that the task force might just be a mere consuelo de bobo to show that someone is investigating the billions in funds that have been lost to fraudulent activity by these medical people.

I’m saying this because the people behind the investigating body are also officials from the government. And we all know, and as the saying goes, “birds of the same feathers flock together.”

The task force, created by the President himself, is led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and composed of the Office of the Ombudsman, Civil Service Commission. Office of the Executive Secretary, Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, and Palace Undersecretary Melchor Quitain.

Hindi ko naman nilalahat na wala akong tiwala sa task force as there are some members in the group who are incorrupt like our good friend Atty. Melchor Quitain. Atty. Melchor belongs to a well respected family of lawyers in Davao City and was the city administrator of then Mayor Rody Duterte. We never heard he was involved in any shenanigans as “little mayor” then.

But you can’t blame me for having this cloud of suspicion about the task force. Marami nang nangyaring kalokohan ganito noon pa.

What President Duterte might overlook in creating the task force, is that he should include independent individuals or body as members who are not working with the government to avoid suspicion that this is lutong makaw investigation.

Key officials of PhilHealth have already resigned while others are confined to hospitals for the usual alibi that they are sick (biglang nagkakasakit while being investigated) yet they continue denying involvement in anomalies. Mataas talaga ang pasensiya ni Lord sa mga ganitong klaseng tao.

President Duterte assured the public that he will respect the results of the report of the investigating body. Okay, but I have this unsolicited advice to the President. He should not just rely on the task force report especially if the results of the investigation favored the suspected medical officials. Kailangan mag desisyon rin siya base sa kanyang konsensya at hinala ng publiko na talagang may kalokohan nagawa.

-o0o-

First District Congressional Representative Paulo “Polong” Dutete filed House Bill 7659 or the Minimum Wage for Nurses in the Private Sector Act of 2020 urging the National Wages Productivity Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment to establish a minimum wage for nurses in the private hospitals.

“With this bill, we will provide adequate remuneration and benefits to compensate nurses who are facing danger everyday in their duty as frontliners in the battle against the coronavirus,” Duterte said.

While the bill may be long overdue to finally recognize the risk our nurses are facing in saving the lives of others, at least here is something of a consolation. Huli man daw at magaling naihahabol din.

Even before my namesake son Jeckjeck thought of taking up the course, he confided to me that after he graduated and passed the board for nursing, he will go abroad to practice the profession for higher wages unlike in the Philippines where the salary for nurses can’t even support oneself.

True to his words, Jeckjeck is now a nurse in Canada living with his wife and two young lovely and talented daughters.

A first cousin, Mila Dumasal Gementiza. who is also a Canadian national, her son, who was a classmate to my son’s daughters in the primary grade, once told me through Facebook that: “Kuya, maganda ang buhay ni Jeck dito, head nurse siya ng isang sikat na hospital.”

Jeckjeck formed his own band as lead guitarist and already performed on stage with world re-knowned actress-songstress Lea Salonga and likewise guitarist, Bamboo, whenever he’s off-duty from the hospital.

My unica hija, Tala, a Philippine Women’s College graduate is also abroad and a Licensed Practical Nurse. She works with a wealthy family that owns a multi-billion manufacturing firm in the United States.

I was on vacation in her new house in the US last year. Tala is still single.

With all these good lives my children are now enjoying abroad, can we blame our professionals to seek greener pastures in other countries instead of staying in our country where they are receiving survival pay?

The Duterte bill is in the right tract. Huli man daw at magaling naihahabol din. Better late than never! Stay safe.

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