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From the Editor

For Filipinos with HIV: Alamin saan napupunta ang ₱39,500 bago mabulsa ng profiteering ‘service providers’

“If your treatment hub won’t show you your SOA, or if there are items in your SOA that do not make sense, then that’s a sure sign na may panlolokong nagaganap, that something deceitful is happening. And this is what we all need to stop.”

Photo by Monstera Production from Pexels.com

Prangkahan na tayo; it’s time to be frank (and blunt) now: Filipinos living with HIV and who are enrolled in treatment hubs should start asking how the ₱39,500 allocated per PLHIV under the Outpatient HIV/AIDS Treatment (OHAT) Package of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is being spent.

Because if you don’t, ang pera na yan na dapat sana ay ginagamit para sa kalusugan ng bawat Pinoy na may HIV ay maaaring kupitin, ibulsa, nakawin ng ilang “service providers”.

To emphasize: under OHAT, one PLHIV is allocated ₱39,500. Meaning, for any hub that has thousands of PLHIV clients… that amount becomes HUGE.

Ganito kasi yan: Ang ₱39,500 na yan ay dapat sapat na para i-cover ang mga tests na kailangan ng isang PLHIV, pati na rin ang ARV supplies niya. May mga panahon na that amount is not enough, depending on cases – e.g. if the ARV received isn’t available locally, so have to be imported from overseas (and so the PLHIV needs to cough up the kulang); if there are more laboratory tests needed, so the costs increase; if one is hospitalized; and so on.

Pero may mga practices ang treatment hubs na dapat ay simulan nang i-question, particularly:

  1. Pag walang pinapakitang SOA (statement of account) sa iyo. Ibig sabihin, hindi mo malalaman kung saan ginamit ang ₱39,500. Ibig din sabihin, kung binulsa man yan (na hindi naman sana), di mo malalaman. Kahit na ginamit na ang pangalan mo, kalakip ang pirma mo, na supposedly ay ginamit mo at napakinabangan ang perang yan.
  2. Pag pinapakuha ka ng lab tests sa labas ng hub mo. To begin, dapat naman talaga ang mga hub ay capable na mag-render ng mga serbisyong ito. Kung wala silang capability, then they should partner with facilities that have the capability. Pero ang nangyayari, may mga hubs na inuutusan ang mga PLHIV na magpa-lab tests sa labas, with the PLHIVs paying from their own pockets. And yet since PLHIVs do not see the SOA anyway, then the amount for these lab tests may still be collected by these treatment hubs from PhilHealth. Meaning… pinagkitaan ang PLHIV; para-paraang kupit lang.

Summing up: Yang ₱39,500, dapat sa PLHIV ginagamit yan. Not going to the pockets of “service providers” who are only in HIV “advocacy” because they can make a killing by taking money that’s not theirs.

Magtanong.

Mag-demand.

Magreklamo.

But start with magpuna (observing): If your treatment hub won’t show you your SOA, or if you have a copy of your SOA but there are items in your SOA that do not make sense (e.g. “counseling services” even if you have never been counseled), then mag-duda ka na, start doubting. That could be a sign na may magic na nagaganap, that something deceitful could be happening. And this is what we all need to stop.

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The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia; and Master of Development Communication from the University of the Philippines-Open University. Conversant in Filipino Sign Language, Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, and research (with pioneering studies under his belt). He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Art that Matters - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).

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