Single mom Berlin Alayne Calderon had been working hard to provide for her two children when misfortune struck: she injured her arm in a hit-and-run incident, rendering her unable to continue her livelihood as a seamstress.
“Ang hirap po kasi nasa akin ang mga anak ko at ako po ang bumubuhay sa kanila. Hindi po ako makapagtrabaho lalo na po’t nag-aaral ang dalawang anak ko,” she told a team from the office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano that was conducting a medical caravan in San Fernando, Pampanga on March 16, 2023.
Calderon said she spent months trying to get some assistance for her arm operation but only found help through the senator’s medical program.
“Kung saan-saan nagpupunta pero walang tulong. Buti na lang kanina bago kami umuwi, nakita namin itong medical assistance desk ni Senator Cayetano at makakapag-opera na ako,” she said.
A teary-eyed Calderon expressed gratitude to the senator for the medical assistance, which will finally allow her to have the much-needed operation to heal her arm and eventually return to her work.
Calderon was one of the more than a hundred patients who received help from the medical caravan set up by Cayetano’s team at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital (JBLMGH).
The activity was done in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) Center for Health Development Central Luzon under the DOH Medical Assistance to Indigents Patients Program (DOH-MAIPP), and in coordination with JBLMGH Medical Chief II Dr. Monserrat Chichioco and Medical Social Services Department Head Jovita Baybayan.
The medical caravan extended assistance to patients who came from all over Central Luzon such as Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija. Some members of the Aeta indigenous group were also helped.
The patients, who were mostly dealing with chronic kidney disease and hypertension as well as orthopedic and pediatric problems, received help with their payments for hospital, laboratory, medical procedure, medicine, and dialysis bills.
Cayetano, a senior senator, had established a medical assistance program early in his public service with the goal of helping poor Filipinos receive basic medical care at little or no out-of-pocket expense.
In his return to the Senate last year, Cayetano authored several health-related bills such as the Barangay Health Centers Act (Senate Bill No. 303), Super Health Centers in All Cities and Municipalities (Senate Bill No. 304), the Health Passport System Act (Senate Bill No. 60), the Mahal ko, Barangay Health Worker Ko Law (Senate Bill No. 68), and the Floating Hospitals Act (Senate Bill No. 305).
Since October 2022, Cayetano’s office has extended medical assistance to more than a thousand patients from all over the country.