Benguet dialysis patients step up campaign for free treatment

BAGUIO CITY – Dialysis patients from Benguet province stepped up efforts to gather signatures of support to the on-going campaign to rally the public in urging the government to provide free dialysis treatment for all kidney patients undergoing the blood-cleansing procedure.
Members of the Benguet Renal Center Patients and Caregivers Association turned in close to 22,000 signatures of support from residents in the various barangays and schools in La Trinidad and other towns last Feb 28. This brought the total number of signatures to over 30,000 gathered from the various sign-up sites and on-line petition from the time the campaign was launched last January.
The campaign spearheaded by the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, the Philippine Information Agency and the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for Hemodialysis Patients and Partner Association has so far drawn support from various sectors led by the local governments of Baguio City and La Trinidad town which approved resolutions of support.
The signatories included the Baguio City jail inmates and personnel, employees of ABC 360, members of the taxi operators and drivers group, City Hall clients and employees, book and art patrons of Bookends and those who signed the online petition some of whom came from other provinces and cities in the country and from as far as countries in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Patient Roland Langbayan of Ifugao is also jumpstarting the campaign in the province while lobbying for congressmen to sponsor the bill for free dialysis.
BCBC head Ramon Dacawi said all the signatures will be collated along with the resolutions of support from the local government units in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels to be forwarded to 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.
“We have to continue convincing government officials in the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels in the region and in other parts of the country to support the campaign by approving resolutions,” Dacawi said. They may base their measures on the BCBC resolution that can be downloaded from the petition posted at where people here and abroad can also register their support.
Sign-up sites for the campaign are at the city public information office and city councilors’ offices 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 and Bookends along Calderon St.
Meanwhile, Manila-based artists under the Freedom Art Society (FAS) and Philippine Pastel Artists (PPA) sought to complement the campaign by holding an on-line auction of their artworks in collaboration with Bookends and the Pasakalye group of local artists as part of their own advocacy to help indigent dialysis patients.
All the proceeds of the auction will go to the dialysis patients, according to Docyogen who said the collaboration was made possible through the efforts of Arch. Fredi Agunoy, artist and owner of FREDS ARTpartment, and Freedom Art Society headed by Nathalie Medrano, artists and organizers of Pasakalye behind Art X-Fusion and Street Art Exhibit and company sponsors Rev Bloom and Davies Paint. Aileen P. Refuerzo / ABN

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