Support snowballs for free dialysis campaign

>> Sunday, February 5, 2017

By Aileen P. Refuerzo 

BAGUIO CITY – Support has snowballed for an ongoing call for free dialysis treatment in the country as the campaign has netted 5,000 signatures as of Thursday. 
The signatures came not only from the Cordillera region but also from other cities and provinces in the country and from as far as countries in Asia, Europe and the United States gathered through an on-line petition posted by the BCBC at the website
The BCBC headed by veteran newsman Ramon Dacawi and PIA-CAR under regional director Helen Tibaldo requested anew government officials in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels in the region and in other parts of the country to propel the drive 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 ( and search for free dialysis petition; or through the following link: where people can also register their support.  
The drive has gained the backing of the Baguio City government as Mayor Mauricio Domogan signed city council Resolution No. 11 s. 2017 of support to the advocacy as initiated by Councilor Peter Fianza and Edgar Avila.
The La Trinidad town council led by Joey Jovencio Marrero also reportedly approved a similar resolution this week, a move expected to be supported by Mayor Romeo Salda.
Entrepreneur Maricar Docyogen submitted 2,000 of the total signatures gathered from their sign-up nook at the Bookends shop where the book trader with the Pasakalye group of local artists started gathering signatures ahead of the drive’s launch as part of their own ongoing advocacy to help indigent patients.
Other 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.
The number also includes the more than 500 signatures collated from the online petition where some followers from all over the country and other parts of the world even took the time to explain their support to the advocacy.  Some of the signatories came from the various states of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and China.
Most of those who signed up were dialysis patients or had family members or relatives who either underwent or are still undergoing the treatment and thus knew the ordeal. 
Affirming the sorry plight of dialysis patients struggling to make both ends meet on their dialysis requirement which triggered the campaign in the city, Alma Bella Castillo, a dialysis patient from Manila affirmed that the main cause why patients die is the lack of finances.
“Having this disease will really lead to death once you skip treatment and lack of finances is the main cause wherein patients die in the last quarters of the year due to inability to pay in cash of the dialysis treatment. We rely only with the free sessions given by Philhealth and with this we still have other medical needs such as labaratoties, medicines, injections etc. which also require ample funds.  Please help us Mr. President,” she wrote.
The campaign was triggered by the case of patient Jane Lamlamag Garcia who died last month shortly after consuming all her Philhealth sessions and voluntarily foregoing treatment to give way to the medical needs of her two equally sick daughters. Others signed up in commiseration with the patients.
“(There are) too many tragic and heartbreaking stories of dialysis patients (as well as their families) all over the country.   This would be a HUGE help,” said Karen Stephanie Villanueva of Puerto Princesa City.
“A nation's greatest resource is its people. Each human life is a potential that the state cannot afford to waste away to any illness,” offered Christian Andre Soliven of Quezon City.
“I hope that the Philippines' politicians and Health and Welfare bureaucrats will grant the country's dialysis patients all the needed services free of charge,” Muammer Cetingok of Germantown, Tennessee wished.
“I’m a hemodialysis nurse and I know how difficult it is for dialysis patients to look for money to pay their treatments. Dialysis is the only way they can survive,” Edison Infante of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia said.
Docyogen also verbalized her support: “I’m signing because the next patient may be me or a loved one... I’m signing to make sure that quality life is sustained despite the treatment...I’m signing because I have seen the worry of a patient and family members on where to get money for the next treatment…I’m signing to add to the voice of all patients who died last quarter because they didn't receive treatment… I’m signing because I strongly believe that my signature can help convince this government to this plight.”
Russia Egmalis from Baguio plainly remarked, “I may need dialysis someday.”
Julian Chees a Germany-based world karate champion who for years has been raising funds for many patients in the city and other parts of the region signed up and shared the petition hoping to drum up support to the cause in his adoptive country.


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