Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 22 years ago, when I finally took the risk of a big CHANGE in my life.  From being an executive secretary in a German company, I didn’t know what will happen to my career when I decided to immigrate to Canada.  No one knows our future except our maker up above, but it [...]

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Page added on April 22, 2017

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Warehouse for the Sick

By: Tigs Tidalgo

A building rose up in the middle of nowhere. Though awkward in location, the new public hospital from a distance showed beauty and style. It has no rival in an open farmland. An empty wide flowers-divided road was purposely built to access the facility from the main highway. It looked impressive as it stood by itself in the riceland in rural southern Philippines.

Amidst sweltering heat that Wednesday afternoon, we parked in front the hospital. There was no problem with parking. Ours was the only car in the lot. The main entrance was closed. We walked few yards away to a doorway. It was the entrance for emergency cases. We squeezed our way in and what we saw inside was not pretty.

Fronting a counter was a long and narrow concrete corridor full of people. About a hundred were lining up waiting their turn at the counter. The temperature was hot and humid. Some were sitting on the floor. Others were leaning on the wall and the rest agonized to stand on line. Their appearance implied that they were the poor sick people in nearby barrios.

The counter attendance and the security guard saw us when we entered. They stood up, left the counter and met us to extend their courtesy. I was wondering why we had special treatment. My wife and I were just there to visit a patient.

We insisted to find our way to room 101. We didn’t want to compromise the counter unmanned. But they were persistent to escort us. We obliged what they wanted. It turned out to be a good idea, because with the maze of dark corridors inside, we could have difficulties finding our way without a guide. My thoughts however were with the people they abandoned at the entrance counter.

By the aisle an elderly woman lay on bed. She was barely skin and bones. She was left alone unattended. She stared at me without saying a word. I believed that she was dying .She can’t be with other patients in the room. The expression in her eyes was something I can’t forget. I was sadly taken why a person in such condition was moved out to the aisle alone.

Room 101 was bare concrete compartment. There was nothing in it but crude beds with patients. Around each bed was a fair size group of people. This turned the supposedly hospital ward into a crowded room with no place to sit.

The situation was bizarre. My sense of understanding entailed that it was pathetic. However, this was the time that we just have to bow down to the absurd.  Being in the nutshell, the poor in rural barrios believe that these kind of things are normal.

But from people with outside immersion to higher benchmark look at this as injustice; and it is. They know that disparity rendered towards the less fortunate is a disgrace; more so on the sick and the dying. However, as situation is believed to be  beyond resolve, supposition appears to simply accept it as standard practice.

Yes, the warehouse for the sick is repulsive. But there’s nothing anyone  can do.  It has been ongoing in public provincial hospitals for many years.  Local people got used to it that no one ever complaint anymore.

It was hard to forget as I drove away, because once upon a time in the same environment,  these kind of people was me.

God help them all…..I quietly prayed.


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