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A small enough inconvenience

Over at Filipino Voices, cocoy reacts strongly to reports that “Rep. Ignacio Arroyo of 5th District, Negros Occidental proposes a measure requiring all registered Filipino professionals to render two years of service within the country prior to any employment overseas.”

If Government paid in entirety the said tuition fee. Then, sure, we can require said professional to give something back. Unless Government does, why should people who have spent a lot of money paying for their own way in school give something back to a government? Who the frak cares if it is for the “national interest?” When has any politician cared for the greater good?

First off, I’d say that there is an undeniable fairness in what Cocoy says about government paying tuition fees. Still, I’d take exception to the second half of his comment – the part that asks ‘who the frak cares.’

Well, I care. And I think this country would be in a much better place if we all did – politicians notwithstanding.

I think Cocoy also hit it square on the head when he called this proposed measure “akin to a DRAFT.” In the sense that there is the element of forced service, then yes: this is a draft. But when Cocoy goes on to say that Draft has gone the way of slavery, there I think a distinction has to be made.

Slavery – like the polo during the spanish colonial period – involved service without compensation. The draft, on the other hand, involves service with compensation. And that’s what makes the comparison falter. The draft – and the proposed measure – does not force anyone to serve without recompense; it merely delays the freedom to choose your employer. And since the person is not deprived of a just return for his labor, I think the delay of two years is a small enough inconvenience to suffer for the sake of the national interest.

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Filed under: musings, news

14 Responses

  1. J says:

    Well, still it makes me ask, why do we need to force citizens to care for the country?

    Don’t get me wrong, I would be willing to serve in the Philippines for more than two years in any capacity. But I don’t think it’s fair for a state to force those others who are not like us to care for national interest.

  2. rom says:

    J: i disagree. I’ve always been of the view that the responsibility is reciprocal. We expect the state to give to and take care of us, we must therefore be willing to give to and take care of the state. That would, I think, be closer to the concept of fairness.

  3. UP n student says:

    A program that I would prefer will go as follows:
    (i) The government makes available more student loans so that more Filipinos can complete college or take post-high school job training (seamen, auto- or air-conditioning mechanics, etcetera);
    (ii) The government student loans get forgiven if the scholar provides X-number of years service to the country.
    (iii) A Filipino can work overseas only if he/she has repaid at least 50% of the student loan (and agrees to automatic withdrawals from paycheck);

  4. J says:

    Rom: that, I think, goes against the liberal democratic principle that the state exists for the individual instead of the other way around.

    As for me, forcing doctors to stay here for a couple of years against their will is valid only if there’s a national emergency of sort. But, the way I see it, we might have problems with the health services in the Philippines, but I don’t think it’s urgent enough for the state to deprive its doctors the freedom to work wherever they want and to have JUST COMPENSATION, not just mere compensation.

    For instance, why not spend more on hospitals rather than waiting shed and basketball courts or whatever it is that a pork barrel is spent for?

  5. cocoy says:

    Rom,

    I’m from the school of thought that strongly believes that private ingenuity can overcome the deadening effects of government control.

    I don’t like government “telling” people what to do. Let individual people decide on their own what they should do. I don’t like government regulating every facet of our lives. to me, that’s not freedom. I believe that economic growth and true political freedom can be achieved when people are allowed to cooperate with one another without being coerced and without a central direction telling them what to do.

    It is good that you care. iGot what iWanted to right there: One person saying they care about this country. As Milton put it… they also serve those who stand and wait.

  6. cocoy says:

    J, sadly it doesn’t quite work out that way either. i’ve for a long time thought that three things should be done to improve public healthcare. first is what is already being done: philhealth. second, public hospitals should be given to local government or greater autonomy. third, greater aggressiveness in how private hospitals run their business. of course, not every hospital is run by Joe Ledesma.

  7. cocoy says:

    UP n student, yes there should be a mechanism for student loans and how to pay the system back.

  8. cvj says:

    The 2-year requirement is in keeping with the principle of “losing one’s rights and freedoms just to move this country forward”. At one time, the Filipino middle class did express agreement with this principle.

  9. Edrie says:

    I’ve always felt as a college student of a certain state university in Quezon City and now a medical student of that same university in Manila, that to whom much was given by the country (I’m not saying the government because the government has done jack for us), much is expected. By “country,” I mean every single honest taxpaying citizen. These people we owe a great deal and this cannot be easily replaced by pronunciations that working abroad will benefit the country –> It doesn’t. Most UP alumni who move abroad tend to bring their families along. The dollars they earn do not go here.

    And this becomes further disheartening when you consider that more than half of all doctors from the UP College of Medicine go abroad for residency and never come back.

    Equating a mandatory return of service as slavery is not just flawed, it is downright idiotic. If taxes helped subsidize an education that would make you one of the best medical practitioners then it should be fair that you give back to the country that gave you that training.

    By “giving back” I do not mean staying in the National Capital Region and earning a lot of money in those hospitals for the rich. By “giving back,” I mean going to the provinces and giving decent primary healthcare as a Doctor To The Barrio.

    BTW, Cocoy, you are wrong. Philhealth has been a massive failure in subsidizing healthcare costs. I have stayed long enough in PGH especially during the period before my father’s death weeks ago. I know. Besides the massive red tape, the compensation is just not enough to cover most of the fees needed for laboratory tests, physician fees, and the medications (let’s not even go to the part about room rates and opportunity costs of staying in the hospital). In short, you do not know what you’re talking about.

    Second, control of public hospitals was already ceded to local government units. Look at where that got us. We have almost every physician in the provinces taking up nursing so that they can make a better life for themselves abroad. These I do not know first-hand, but every classmate I have who has been on the immersion program for the Regionalization Service of the UP College of Medicine attests to this fact.

    Third, greater aggressiveness in how private hospitals run their business? WTF? The reason why PGH receives too many referrals in whatever department (from medicine to surgery to orthopedics to emergency) is because these private hospitals you talk about have been far too aggressive in running healthcare as a business. Why? Because almost every case wherein they feel the patient will not be able to pay they send to PGH. Yes, even emergency cases.

    So if you don’t know jack about healthcare please shut your trap in the same way I’ve shut mine regarding tech.

  10. Prudence says:

    It would be helpful if graduates of state universities whose education were subsidized by the government will be required to stay for a certain number of years to give back to the country in form of services. And yes, it is unfortunate that most people from UP college of medicine took to residency abroad. Perhaps someday, they’ll come back. Or maybe not.

    I think my issue here is that if mandatory return of service would be required of all registered professionals, then perhaps, the government should make sure that those who’ll be staying here will have proper employment and DUE compensation.

    I don’t agree that it is a “small” enough inconvenience. I mean, try living here for 2 years receiving only P10,000/month or less, without insurance or other benefits, working almost 24/7, going on duty every 3 days or even every other day, with apartment and bills to pay, and money to send home to parents who spent hundreds and thousands of pesos just to send you to school and see if it’ll still be just a “small” inconvenience.

    @Edrie,
    I don’t see why we should ignore that hospitals are, indeed, businesses and should be run as such. I work in a private hospital. We do treat emergency cases, even if patient is not able to pay. When patient is stable, we send them to other hospitals which aren’t as expensive, so that they don’t be burdened with an enormous hospital bill. I understand why the hospital has to do it, as I’ve seen how some patients have abused altruism. Hospitals are made up of people too and these people need to be justly compensated too. What needs to be done is to have public and private healthcare running smoothly parallel with each other, so that one can supplement what the other cannot.

    I can understand your frustration because you work in a government hospital, underpaid and overworked, and with inadequate hospital supplies. But, please do understand that not all private hospitals do make it good as the big, well-known ones. There are those who struggle too, and they’re forced to implement rules so that they, too, will survive. If we’re going to consider all private hospitals sacrificial lambs, then nobody would invest in building more of it and maybe just give their money to IT.

  11. rom says:

    prudence: welcome to the smoking room. excellent point on due compensation and the cost of living.

  12. BrianB says:

    Agree with CVJ. This has become the habit of our government to put all the burden on sectors that do not fight back like teachers and now nurses. It’s unconstitutional to prevent people from progressing whether culturally, intellectually, socially or financially and I believe it will be easy to prove that government will be in fact damaging the financial future of abroad-bound-nurses that they will delay for two years. In order to do this fairly, never mind constitutionally, a medical emergency has to be officially declared.

    And why not a ban on having one’s babies delivered in a foreign hospital. We need donations in our hospitals. if the rich keep making trips out of the country just to have babies (delivering babies is a basic skill of all doctors, BASIC), then we’ll run out of decent hospitals.

  13. BrianB says:

    I agree totally with loans for nursing and medical students and payback through local employment.

  14. [...] I said, I think it’s a small enough inconvenience for people to bear for the sake of the nation. And it’s great that someone – or at least a [...]

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