Cancer is a word, not a sentence. – John Diamond
Rosita Manlangit was working as a box topper in one of Davao’s major factory when she noticed lumps on her breast in 2012. A working mother who has two daughters in college, the thought of hospitalization and the expenses that go with it made her to ignore her breast lumps.
For a year, she delayed having a check up until she cannot bear the pain anymore. She went to Davao Regional Hospital (DRH), a tertiary government hospital in Tagum City where she was diagnosed of Breast Cancer stage II.
“Two hours ang biyahe hanggang Tagum City, pabalik balik ako sa pagpapa-check up. Kahit may trabaho ako, hindi basta basta (ang gastos sa pagpapaopera), nasa kolehiyo pa ang mga anak ko” narrated Mrs. Manlangit.
Because of her health condition, Ms. Manlangit filed a leave of absence from her work, until all her leave credits were used up. She was advised by her employer to continue her PhilHealth membership under the Individually Paying Program.“Pinayuhan akong mag voluntary member sa PhilHealth dahil wala na akong sweldo sa trabaho. Ubos na ang lahat ng leave (credits) ko. Kahit walang income, naghulog ako”.
She never imagined that PhilHealth would be a great help until her doctor informed her of PhilHealth’s Z benefit package for breast cancer. She immediately went to PhilHealth Tagum Local Health Insurance Office and inquired about the benefit package. “Walang hiya hiya” she said. She submitted all the requirements and prayed that she pass the pre-selection criteria. She did!
“Nawalan na ako ng pag-asa. Buti na lang may Z package. Wala akong problema sa opera, sa gamot, sa laboratory. Lahat ng kailangan ko, ibinigay. Dako pasasalamat ko sa Ginoo at sa PhilHealth. Ang experience ko sa PhilHealth, hayahay” she happily narrated.
After her operation, Mrs. Manlangit became a PhilHealth advocate. She encourages her friends and neighbors to obtain health insurance for themselves, adding that it is everyone’s obligation to be a PhilHealth member. She stressed that “Kahit walang kwarta, kahit mahirap, kailangang magpa-member para walang alalahanin (kapag nagkasakit). Mula bata hanggang matanda, kailangang PhilHealth member”.
She recalled that her fight against the Big C was not that easy. She was thankful for her family, friends, employer and the doctors and DRH staff who helped her during the lowest point of her life.
Indeed, breast cancer is not automatically a life sentence if treated in early stage. And now, Mrs. Manlangit, a former beauty queen (she was crowned Ms. TADECO years back) has so many reasons to be happy. She was declared cancer-free, and her eldest daughter is now a degree holder.
Since PhilHealth launched Z Package for breast cancer in 2012, 240 patients have already availed themselves of the package worth P100,000.
The said benefit can be availed in the following 21 contracted hospitals nationwide: Ilocos Training & Regional Medical Center, Mariano Marcos Memorial Medical Center, Cagayan Valley Medical Center, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Jose B. Lingad Memorial Regional Hospital, Batangas Medical Center, Bicol Medical Center, Bicol Regional Teaching & Training Hospital, Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital, Western Visayas Medical Center, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Northern Mindanao Medical Center, Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao Regional Hospital, Baguio General Hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, National Kidney & Transplant Institute, Philippine General Hospital, Quirino Memorial Medical Center and Rizal Medical Center. (Pinky Aragones)