Moalboal, Cebu - October 6, 2013
Moalboal, Cebu - October 6, 2013
Picture diri picture ddto. Maski naa sa misa mag selfie. Ang uban biskan sa jeep nga daghan kaayo’g tawo mag selfie pa. Top 7 reasons nganu mag selfie:
#WayLingaw #WayMagbuot #OAra? #BisayangDako #PicturePa! #Fail #Broombroom #chungkaleng hahaha
I am so stressed out with work and school lately. This is typically me. The workaholic dude. I’ve been sleep deprived because of insomnia these past few days. I guess you can call it being too preoccupied with work. In fact my board mate has caught me sleep talking. And guess what I was talking about? “Can I place you on hold for a minute or two?” Lol. It’s funny because back in the days when I was so drained out with clinical work I never had this much of a stress. Something really needs fixing. I’m glad I’m back to blogging though. At least I can release some stressors out (aside from the other more mature ways of releasing them of course haha). I figured I really need a vacation. Where? When? With Whom? No answers yet but I got pretty excited about the work team’s outing this coming November. Not so sure if I’m coming though. I still got classes. Oops! Here we go again taking about school.
They all looked their best. Most of them were still in their Sunday dresses. Their hair are grayed out. The wrinkling of their skin are too obvious. We greeted them with warm smiles on that sunny afternoon. We introduced ourselves and explained to them the very reason for our visit. I was tasked to give the introductions and as such I explained the objectives of the livelihood program we were planning to conduct for the senior citizens. As I was discussing each one of them, I had to pause from time to time because each one of them had always something to say. As a feedback, one of them said “Maayo kayo ning naa mi trabaho sir para di na mi magsige’g pangayo sa among mga anak ug para di na mi ingnon nga walay mga pulos” (Having a job is beneficial so we don’t need to ask money from our children and we won’t be called worthless). The last line caught my attention. I grew up with my grandparents but I have never perceived their presence as worthless. Is that really what most of us think of them? Why do we even bother to say that we hold golden values like respect for the elderly when we can’t even view them with respect? One of them as I noticed was wearing a worn out pair of slippers. Ang tsinelas ni lola (Grandma’s slippers). I was hesitant to ask her why she hasn’t used a new one. In my mind, I assumed she didn’t have the money to buy a new pair. And at the end of that Livelihood Assessment Session, I was asking myself: If I lose my job in the future after my retirement would I also be called worthless? Would I be that poor?
The context of poverty in Filipino society is well defined. We are still a developing nation – a third world country. While I personally don’t like to use the term, it is truth that we must all face, or more like a focus on a goal for development. From a personal point of view, we may say that most of the poor individuals in this country belong to those aged between 20-45. Middle adults are the largest portion of the populace. A small yet increasing part of this whole are older adults, those aged 60 and above. Even for this age group poverty is still greatly felt.
The elderly poor are a special concern to our nation. Approximately 10-12 percent of the elderly live in poverty. More than 25 percent of older women who live alone are poor. The oldest old is the age group most likely to be living in poverty. The fact is many middle-aged individuals do not adequately plan for retirement. (CNU Instructional Manualon Gerontology and Geriatric Nursing).
According to Grace T. Cruz (1998) in her “Economic Wellbeing of the Filipino Elderly”, a paper presented at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting, a small yet significant proportion (5.6 percent) of the elderly in the study declared to have absolutely no income and expenditure. This phenomenon is more preponderant among females, those who are not married, older and urban residents. While almost nine out of ten older people reported some income (more males than females), a low level of median income was reported coupled by a considerable level of indebtedness. The health and wealth of the elderly are positively correlated with each step down the income ladder clearly associated with lower health status.
Dr. Clarita Carlos (Concerns of the Elderly in the Philippines, 1999) said “One of the issues is the security in old age. Poverty is perceived as an obstacle to a secured old age. As such, the current pension system in the Philippines requires careful consideration and evaluation. The government offers welfare services such as homes for the aged and Senior Citizens Centers to better address the plight of the Filipino elderly. However, the effectiveness of such welfare services can only be confirmed by the level of satisfaction of their intended beneficiaries.”
The great question is: Are our senior citizens, the golden men and ladies who shaped our nation’s history and culture, satisfied with the “security” that they get from the government? Does the Philippine pension system need to be refined? Amaryllis Tiglao Torres, executive director of the Philippine Social Science Council Inc. (PSSC), said during the 20th Biannual General Conference of the Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils held in Cebu City, that in the traditional Philippine society, there is high expectation for the children to look after their elderly parents but what the information is showing us is that the older people do not necessarily depend on their children for their sustenance. In many cases, they continue to have their own income from pension or from their own livelihood efforts. In some cases, she said, older people even provide economic support to their children and grandchildren. This situation is more evident in rural areas. (http://www.sunstar.com.ph April 6, 2013).
In one of our graduate school classes, our professor gave an example of an elderly who told her that whenever she asks money from her daughter because she wants to go to church every Sunday, she would be told “Unsaon man na nmu ang kwarta? Sakto ra nang akong gihatag” (What are you going to do with that money? I gave you enough). And in fact she is the one doing the dishes, watering the plants, doing the laundry and does the cooking at home. Financial support is a right of every human person and as such no one should be deprived of it based on age. This is clearly a violation to human rights. This is a form elderly abuse. And while ageism seems to be “normal” in Philippine culture, we don’t really need to tolerate them.
Sen. Edgardo Angara, in a privilege speech, had said that younger people should start saving for their retirement. This is definitely a good advice but let’s face it, saving money for old age is “easier said than done,” with many workers earning income barely enough to meet their daily needs. Perhaps we can suggest to the lawmakers that we need a Philippine Retirement Program that is effective – something that begins a few years before they reach their retirement. This is more like retirement preparedness program – prevention is better than cure!
Article XV Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that “It is the duty of the family to take care of its older person members while the State may design programs of social security.” As stipulated in the Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 “Senior Citizens who have the capacity and desire to work, or be re-employed, shall be provided information and services to enable them to be productive members of society. The Department of Labor and Employment in coordination with other government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shall assess, design and implement training programs that will provide skills and welfare or livelihood support for senior citizens without them paying for training fees”
The elderly are often considered the surplus of the world that needs to be shut in institutions to give way to the young which society admires and celebrates. Ironically these are the people who are most in need of care and attention given their waning health and their increasing withdrawal from the economic sphere (Cruz,1998). Where are we so far with our advocacy for the older adults? Is the Pension truly enough? Can we even say that we have implemented RA 9994 fully? The lack of support from the government really is the main reason why the law is not implemented well. For instance the lack of geriatric wards in the hospitals which are clearly stipulated in the law is not really taken much into consideration simply because we even lack geriatricians. And even if we do have a surplus of nurses in the Philippines we may lack the proper training or that the government may not be able to give us a decent properly paying job.
To develop of a sense of independence and productivity among senior citizens the government has to do something about it. Livelihood programs may provide our elderly Filipinos with extra income for them to continue to be part of the productive sector of the society - that they will not become liabilities but assets in our country’s development. The government should not depend on NGOs to do this. Furthermore these programs may prevent them from being stagnant and “just waiting for their twilight hours”. While earning money they may find it enjoying and self-fulfilling to be able to learn something new or perhaps to do something they’ve always wanted to do before. I would say, expanding the 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) to include more benefits for our lolos and lolas is going to make an impact among senior citizens too. They all deserve it.
And if we can’t give them new jobs why not let our lolos and lolas continue the careers they are so passionate about. Why not let them continue being teachers for example. They can always work as private tutors, lesser pressure but the same jobs they are all proud about. It is never accurate to assume that they cannot provide up-to-date information because, as the striking line of Leo Martinez in the movie Tuhog, they “are just retired not retarded”. They may still be taught to learn new knowledge and skills.
All senior citizens in this country deserve our attention. Dahil di lamang tsinelas ang kailangan nila. Kailangan nila ng pang-unawa at tulong (Because they don’t just need slippers, but our understanding and our help). We should start listening to their voices. How about putting ourselves in their places or better yet how about placing ourselves inside their “slippers”?
***A portion of this manuscript contains an excerpt from the project proposal for the paperbag making livelihood program that we have designed with fellow gerontology nurses at school***
Finally decided to cancel my trip to Manila for the Annual Convention of the Gerontology Nurses Association of the Philippines. Though it was a long-time wish to attend the convention I just have to make some changes because of some more important responsibilities. Sayang ang approved vacation leave pero okay lang man. Now that I’m one step closer to being a member of the organization, I hope I can still attend next year’s convention. For the mean time I am focusing on a lot of requirements for grad school and I used 30% of the allotted budget on some stuff. I-daan sa shopping para makalma ang sarili! Kaya toh! :)
I am a nurse and I work in a call center. Even after six months of accepting this job I’m still finding it extra hard to say those words. Now, I am going through introspection. A lot of questions in my mind need answers.
I am one of those who never really had nursing as childhood ambition. Nalipong man gani ko pagkakita sa akong kaugalingog dugo katong nagpa-pierce ko for the first time sa akong dalunggan. I never imagined myself working in a hospital. Well, surprise surprise! I went with the trend. But here’s the catch, after months of being a freshman in college I have learned to love (and I mean this in every sense of the word) nursing thanks a lot to my dean who somehow became like my idol back then. Within those four years of college I proved that I did grasp the whole idea of becoming a nurse. I mean if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have graduated. And so began my journey to nursing.
After college I was so enthusiastic about my career. I didn’t even care if I had to undergo volunteer work, I just want to become a nurse. Salary was never an issue. I was so excited to work. I even took a job even before I got my license as a nurse. When I worked as a reviewer, there was really no problem. I enjoyed my work as I’ve always thought that teaching was my first love. But I just had to resign and relocate to Cebu because there was a job opening from one of my dream hospitals to work in. I took all the risks to take that job. I did my best to be a good practitioner of my profession. Kung sa bisaya pa “giduphan na nako tanan ubra sa nurse”. It wasn’t a joke. For year I felt like each time I wake up I was sleep deprived and each time I try to sleep it felt like I was overworked. But I never thought of surrendering. I enjoyed my job, my colleagues and for all those times I thought I was creating a good first impression to my superiors.
Eventually the contract had to end and obviously the “padrino” system has to sink in. Since I didn’t have any connections, I had to move on. For a month that I was in Cebu I was jobless, pretending to be enjoying the life of a tambay. But in reality I was depressed. It was too hard to leave a job that felt like a lifetime and not a year. Since I was taking up my masters degree that time, it wasn’t that easy to leave Cebu too. I got scared of withdrawing from my masteral classes. “Sayang” I told myself. So I thought of finding all possible ways to stay. I got myself in a BPO just to finance myself while looking for another nursing job. Whatever led me to that decision, three things were certain, I wanted to help my family, I needed a job, and I needed to stay in Cebu to continue the course.
Now I am working as a call center agent. Does this make me less of a nurse? Apparently, no matter what angle we look at it, I am under- or mis- employed. I don’t know. I feel like I am too harsh to myself. But I also feel that I am being too pretentious about being happy at where I am right now. Were my decisions right? I used to say that there is nothing wrong with this job as long as I’m earning. But then earning is just a part of the issue. What about satisfaction? What about ambition? What about passion? If there is one person I know who has been so passionate about this profession, it would be me. I have this gut feeling that “nagabaan ko sa akong pagtalikod ug trabaho sa Negros, my home province”. What could have happened if I stayed there to work?
“Nabiyaan nako sa tanan”. I’m not really insecure about those who are already abroad because I personally don’t plan to do it before 2015 (before I graduate from grad school). But what saddens me is that fact that even after 2015 I’m sure my family still wouldn’t have enough funds to finance my papers. There are also some who are currently working on their future jobs outside the country. At least they are on their first steps. And when do I come into the picture? In the Philippines, if a nurse would want to have a less expensive way of going abroad, they should at least have good and sufficient experience here. So pano ako? Even if I can work abroad I wouldn’t qualify with my current work experiences.
Does it even make sense if I say that I am both happy with my present job and frustrated about my nursing career? I’ve thought about the fact that my only reason to stay in Cebu is my masteral classes. But what’s the sense to taking up my masters anyway if I’m not even applying it in my job? If I stop schooling and I relocate back in my hometown, is there a job waiting for me there? I also thought about giving up nursing and take up another career like teaching. But isn’t it funny? I graduated with honors in nursing, worked as a reviewer, took up masters… and it will end up working as a teacher. Ugh! Although my friend was right when he said that as long as I’m happy I can always change careers, it wouldn’t be that easy, of course.
Some 400,000 nurses are unemployed today according to statistics. The Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders & Advocates International said that about 200,000 nurses are jobless while the PRC estimates underemployment among nurses to be at just under 300,000 (http://www.gmanetwork.com). No matter how much money I am earning now with my present job, no one can deny that I am part of the 300,000 underemployed Filipino nurses. While many of us are happy about our present jobs, there are some like me who can’t be totally happy about it. Pag sobra sobra nga naman ang passion mo for work, hahanaphanapin mo talaga. The Department of Labor and Employment even advised for nurses to take another course. Does the government realize that we are suffering from an insufficient number of health professionals in the country? The demand is there! But there are no jobs. There is a need but there are certainly no more jobs for nurses!
Last night while talking to a friend, I thought about the possibility that I may just need some tap in the back from a friend. But no, there is more to this depressing thought than what most people think. I am a nurse and I am a call center agent. I am happy but I’m not yet satisfied. I want to do more. I want to learn more. I want to be more! Where do I go from here?
Realizations 101. Last night I saw my ex for the first time in a year that we lost communication. Surprisingly, all the heartaches and all the sama ng loob is already gone (no this is not “muling ibalik”). Our talk was plain, casual, and most of all friendly. I just had to laugh sa iyang reaction pagtawag nako niya ug “bibs” (yes, ingon-ana ka luod among tawganay sauna). It was funny how we can say words like “Katong ni resign ka sa imong work, kita pa ba ato?” without malice…or “kahinumdum ka atong first date nato nag drive2 ta sa my SM?”… ataya! makalingaw… so this is how you talk withyour Ex!
Yesterday, someone asked me this question: “Are you happy at where you are right now?”… Big words huh? It’s been 24 hours and I still cant figure out my exact answer. Last night my friend was so happy to tell me that after a year of reflection (a jobless year haha) he has came to realize that he is now more determined to find a “weird” job that would fit his personality and his passion. Ingon kuno sya sa iyang parents “Kamu nasunod sauna nga nag nurse ko and ako gyud gihuman, karon akong na pod ambisyon ang akong sundon”. How many of us can say the same thing? He continued to ask me: “Ikaw, what is that one thing in life that you really wanna do?”. I got a lot of answers to that. I wanted to become a writer , a doctor or a teacher. But Where am I right now? Perhaps taking medicine would have to be a very far ambition but two of my other dreams are certainly within reach, do you agree? Why did I choose to stay where I am anyway? Presently I work as a call center agent. Though I am focused on finishing my Masters Degree in Nursing, I cant help but ask myself if that is really enough…
Happiness Passion – big word! I used to think that I was someone with so much passion. I wonder what happened to all that now. At present, I may still not have the answers to my friend’s questions but I know for sure that I will have them pretty soon. And for the record, wala gyud ko nagmahay nga nag nurse ko! What I am worried now is simply, “I wanna do more”. I may not say that I am happy now, but I can assure you, I am enjoying my job, my friends, my school, and my life in Cebu.
I took the first step towards my masters degree today! kudos to myself because after 1 whole year of numerous attempts I finally had that knack to say “I’m going back to school”. Well it’s not yet final I suppose until I get the results of my entrance exam but I guess that’s still note worthy. Not all people of my age would have the enthusiasm of going back to school for graduate studies. At least not after 2-3 years after college graduation.
I’m crossing my fingers on this one! hopefully I get some positive vibes with my decision. I’m sure it’s going to be a sacrifice for my social life but on a positive note it’s going to be less gastos on the “unnecessities”.
My mind has been in a whirlpool this past few days. As usual it started at as fine then it went bad. I was so convinced that I really wanted to stay in Iloilo for another day of lagaw and tambay with officemates, friends and colleagues in the org. Unfortunately (or fortunately… it depends on what angle you look at it), I received an email coming from Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center telling me that I have just been accepted in the job I was applying. I can honestly tell you that I didn’t know how to react that time. I wanted the job so badly before. I wanted to be in Cebu but there are just a few bits of reasons that made me doubt:
a. I’m not ready for another adjustment period. Daw naanad nako nga Ilonggo permi upod ko. Naanad man ko sa environment nga dw ka comfortable lang but now I have to be back in the life I used to hate - being in a boarding haus, doing the laundry, worry about where to eat, doing some requirements for the duty (part of the RN HEALS program is to prepare some weekly, monthly and quarterly paperworks) etc.
b. I didn’t want to leave AYNLA especially now that I have an obligation in the Negros Occidental Chapter. I want to help MORE. I know I can help better. There are a lot of things in my mind, plans for the org actvities. I can’t just quit. And although I can always be an AYNLAn even in the metropolis of Cebu, it’s going to be very different, I know :(
c. For practicality reasons I know that my salary would never be enough to keep up with the cost of living in Cebu. I am also worrying about my family’s finances. I am worried that instead of being a helping hand I might turn out as an additional burden.
d. As you may have known I have 0 clinical experience and working in a tertiary medical center (the largest medical center outside Metro Manila) just scares the hell out of me. As a student I have neither been exposed to VSMMC nor was I able to experience interacting with Cebuano patients. Though I have to admit the training that I will get will be very extensive (which is actually good if you ask me), I cannot help but think about the fact that I did some shortcut on this. I should have started first as a volunteer in a small hospital.
e. I have to admit also that I miss being in front of the podium. I am talking about my previous job as a lecturer. Fact 101: when you work as a teacher you don’t have to earn your students’ respect because that’s part of the whole package already. But when you work in the clinical setting you still have to earn respect and trust from your bosses. It will be a struggle, I know.
f. I will miss the company of old friends, former classmates, colleagues from NGOs, students, and officemates. One very note worthy is that I also have a few friends na bag-o ko lang nakilala and how I wish I could have more time to hang out with them.
Well, I guess I’d have to take all of this as an opportunity to start anew - new life, new job, new friends. I’m keeping positive about it as I know I have many helping and praying hands behind my back. This is as I have said “crossing the rubicon”, there is now more turning back. Between a need and a want… for practicality and career enhancement sake, I’d go for the need.