In 2011, when I landed a new job in an IT company earning a little less than PHP 18,000/month (gross) without any benefits; I was scared. I didn’t have insurance, healthcare, or at least an emergency fund to pull whenever things would go wrong. I was just almost a year out of college shouldering all expenses that I came face to face with because I chose an independent life rather than a sweet life to be spent with my family back in the province. I can still remember the conversation I had with one of my first colleagues back then on why adjusting is so difficult and why is everything so complicated. She told me it’s simply because I have a choice. A choice which not everyone’s lucky to have in their lifetime: to go home and live life like a prince in the province or to stay in Manila and deal with the challenges I am faced with everyday.
At a very young age, say 20 years old, and with a monthly earning of around PHP 14,000 – PHP 14,500 (net); I braved the tough world and chose a life that most people (my age) would usually ditch. l stayed here in Manila and fended for myself. It sounds brave, glorious, and something to be proud of, but it didn’t come easy.
That’s basically the summary of my story. Incurring an expense totaling to PHP 20,400/month and earning at maximum PHP14,500; WHERE THE F*CK WILL I GET THAT?
Many of you would not give a damn about this story as many of you may not have experienced this, but I find it worthy to share because these times of my life changed me for the better. The lessons I’ve learned and the experiences I had in dealing with this circumstance honed me to become a better person. This is my first time publicly sharing this story and this is also the first time my family would know about this. I was enveloped with so much pride before that I didn’t really want anyone to know my financial stresses, but looking back, I am very comfortable now sharing this because it changed me in ways unimaginable.
People and rubber bands have one thing in common: they must be stretched to be effective.
Going back to my story, in 2011, battling the forces I have no control over, I fell sick. It wasn’t just an ordinary sickness, it was a serious one. For some reason, I developed uric stones in my kidney, and it was only when heaven and earth fell upon me that I realized it. Like a thief in the night, it hit me; in the wee hours of the morning when I was comfortably still sleeping in my cold room wrapped in my comforters, my life came to a turning point. I literally felt like it was my last day on earth. I couldn’t bear the pain and the worst thing about it is that I was alone. No one was there to see me struggle or at least to listen to me when I say my last words. It was an absolute hell and I still dread that day til now.
Hospital? I didn’t consider that option. I was near penniless when it happened; my family is in Bacolod and there was no one I can call; not even my friends at that moment. I didn’t know what to do until survival instincts struck me and dragged my foot at my landlady’s door. I found myself knocking and asking for help. She was Ate Edith and she was nice enough to get up and drive me to the hospital. I was given immediate medical attention to help the pain subside and was referred to a specialist for further treatment. I didn’t mind the bills because I was so stressed already thinking about my life. Ate Edith paid for it all right from her pocket. I just promised her I’ll pay her back when the bank opens because I still have to call my family and ask for financial support.
It was a very difficult time for me and it was something I did not foresee when I decided to live an independent life here in Manila. The sad thing about it is I was benefit-less. Yes I had a job and though it didn’t pay me well enough, there wasn’t much of a choice. I was just less than a year out of college and I was still on the process of adjusting; testing the waters and all that kind of stuff. It’s still nearly impossible to comprehend how I made it through, but seeing the bigger picture clearly now and the lessons that came with it; I know that there is something that needs to be done. Something our government has failed in so many ways to address in all the years we’ve been diligently paying our taxes.
It’s nice to have a job that pays, but in the world we live in today, is our salary enough?
I’m guessing I’ll get a big NO from almost everyone; take away the fact that one will always be “not contented”, but given the economic climate here in our country and the challenges we have with our government, a big NO is the most definite answer we can get from every Filipino.
According to Dr. Josefina Lauchengco, president of the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, “We recognize the immense potential of the HIM (Healthcare Information Management) sector as different factors contribute to its growth. The Philippines’ competitive advantage in the growing healthcare management services sector is built on the availability of talent pool, strong cultural affinity with the United States, and medical know-how that leads to good customer interaction skills and efficient delivery of niche services.”
These are all nice to hear and nice to know projections about the healthcare industry in our country, but is this really enough to address the problems we have now? More than 80% of our population is not covered simply because they are unemployed, self-employed, and it’s just expensive for an individual to acquire. In other words, we are still wrestling with economic factors that deprives us from our most basic rights of having access to a suitable healthcare plan that would alleviate us from the danger of wasting our precious lives just because healthcare is too expensive and only the privileged have access to it.
Benefits for the entrpreneurs and SMEs.
Please watch out for my next post to know more about our revolutionary approach to address this issue. It personally excites me that after all these years of hunting for ways to help my countryman, I have found a new family that will enable me to do so in marvelous ways. In the meantime, you can check this article: Affordable health insurance for the self-employed now a reality, thanks to this new startup from TECHinASIA.
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