City hall’s lies

I AM one of the 18 (or possibly more) doctors who resigned from the JR Borja General Hospital last month. I am writing to express disgust on a news item aired over ABS-CBN last Monday (July 1, 2009), in which our own mayor, Constantino Jaraula, said the physicians who tendered their resignations did so because they have higher plans for their career.

I recalled Mayor Tinnex saying “Kay gusto man sila muadto sa Amerika.”

This is a blatant lie that I and my colleagues in the profession cannot allow to perpetuate.

It may be good for the mayor and the general public to know that most of those who resigned had immediately taken positions in community-oriented health care services. Some of us are in small-staffed clinics that cater services to the poor with their low-priced medicines and consultation fees. Some had gone back to their private practice, as they find more peace of mind in the confines of their small, comfy clinics than suffer hell in the politically charged work environment that is our city hospital.

Also, we are sad that ABS-CBN did nothing to verify the mayor’s statement. We physicians may have limited knowledge on what constitutes a balanced news report, but this we know: A dubious claim or declaration should not be left unchallenged so as not to leave doubts in the public’s mind. The ABS-CBN report merely parroted the mayor’s statement. In fact, the report sounded too slanted to favor the mayor’s assertion.

We also decry the suggestion that our erstwhile employment at JR Borja General Hospital was aimed at gathering experience for improved employment prospects in the future. We were there because we love our profession. Some of us stuck there for years despite delayed salaries and poor working conditions. Some of us even had to shell out supplies from our private clinics
because the hospital miserably lacked almost everything that patients badly need.

J.R. Borja General Hospital (City Hospital), Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City

To suggest that we were carving our stepping stones from the hospital is twice an insult for us. By saying that, isn’t the mayor admitting that the local government can’t pay decent salaries for its doctors to be so desperate as to employ the inexperienced ones? Is this not a tacit admission that the local government is making JR Borja General Hospital a training center for newcomers in the profession simply because it can’t afford to pay doctors who are well established in the medical community?

We are not leeches. We are humans who are dedicated to the job of saving people’s lives, whether in our private practice or in government service. Contrary to what is purveyed in the media by Mayor Jaraula, we are not the butterfly type who hops from one employment to another. Please stop stereotyping us in the medical profession as a bunch of greedy people itching to go out of the country and earn big. It may be prudent to check our backgrounds from the hospital management itself to establish our credentials.

Unfortunately, it is local officials like Mayor Jaraula who are driving us out of government service. There is too much politicking and corruption going on at the hospital. The hospital suffered greatly in the last administration; it is suffering more under the present one.

We commend The Gold Star Daily and other media entities for exposing the ills at the city-run
hospital. We hope for your unrelenting reportage on the issue would usher in the change we’ve been hoping for.

On behalf of the resigned physicians we remain,

Dr. R.D. (Resigned Doctor)

(PS. Please understand that I and my colleagues have decided to remain in the shadows, as we are aware how vindictive our current officials are.)

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