The Office of the Vice President (OVP) was able to deliver basic services to the poor this year even without a budget for social services.
From January to November, 6,044 indigent clients received medical assistance from the OVP. The patients or their families requested help to pay for dialysis, hospital bills, chemotherapy sessions, medicines, surgery and other procedures, implants and hearing aids. The OVP released P43,931,861.87 or an average of 7,269 per client.
It also conducted medical missions in different provinces to reach out to those who could not afford to go to hospitals. This year, the OVP served 66,951 indigents from 21 provinces.
On September 27, simultaneous free medical and dental check-ups were held for families displaced by last year’s siege of Zamboanga. The OVP was able to serve 594 beneficiaries in Alicia, 596 in Buug, 664 in Diplahan, 900 in Imelda, 715 in Kabasalan, 447 in Mabuhay, 716 in Malangas, 417 in Naga, 661 in Olutanga, 267 in Payao and 379 in Talusan.
It also provided educational support to 9,700 elementary school pupils, most of whom were indigenous people. The Vice President’s office also distributed medals and certificates of recognition to 8,000 students, acknowledging their hard work and giving value to their academic achievements.
From January to October 2014, the OVP distributed 133,346 packages of relief goods to families affected by fires, flashfloods and rumblings of Mayon Volcano. A total of 10,025 bags was given to families in Albay who were evacuated after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level of Mayon to level 3 last September.
Meanwhile, 54,030 bags were also distributed to victims of Typhoon Glenda in Region 4A and Region 5 while 35,000 bags were distributed to victims of Typhoon Mario in the Cordillera Autonomous Region, Region 1 and Region II.
Just recently, Binay went to his home province of Batangas to help those who were affected by Typhoon Ruby. The Office of the Vice President distributed 915 relief packs to San Juan, 160 in Rosario, 600 in Lobo, 200 in San Pascual and 200 in Lipa City.
Since his designation as the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns in 2010, Binay, through his office’s coordination with concerned agencies of the government, including the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine embassies and consulates, has been actively assisting OFWs all over the world.
From January 1 to December 9, 2014, his office provided assistance on 1,588 OFW-related concerns. These include requests for repatriation; assistance on salary and benefits claims; legal and monetary assistance for detained OFWs; and grievances against employers, recruiters and agents.
In his lecture on migration and development at the International Institute of Social Studies (IISS) at The Hague, the Vice President stressed that OFW remittances should contribute to mitigating the social costs of migration as well as to the country’s development and “help build a higher quality of life for the workers.”
Binay noted that instead of using the remittances to patronize malls and import luxury consumer items, these should be invested to upgrade the quality of education, technology and health care.
“This will ensure that the next generation or the next wave of migrant workers will be better schooled than the last one,” he said.
“True human development should be the objective of every migrant worker. What they earn should enable them to live truly human lives and to help their fellowmen and their respective communities live the same lives as well,” Binay added.
In June, the Vice President called on the Philippine Embassy in Singapore to investigate a report about domestic workers, including Filipinos, being put on display in malls in the city-state.
“I am deeply concerned by these reports. If this is true, then the domestic workers are being subjected to an indignity that should not be allowed and is in fact, a violation of an international convention protecting the rights of migrant workers,” he said.
To be continued