Ambulansyang de Paa

by Nathan Chua

I recently heard news about a phenomenon somewhere in the farflung areas of the Philippines.  It talked about how some of our people were improvising by having villagers carry their sick to the hospitals in the city.  If I remember correctly, it took them about six hours to carry someone from the mountain down to the towns below where adequate facilities for care were available. 

I have no beef against talking about such an occurrence, but to talk about this with pride is for me difficult to understand.  How can we be happy about such a thing happening in our midst?  I think to have “ambulansyang de paa” at this day and age is the epitome of the injustice that continues to mire us as a people.  To be proud of this is equivalent to saying that Filipinos should all be happy and contented with what goes on in the wake of their grinding poverty.  This goes on while many of us here in the cities are living lives of luxury and debauchery. 

I wonder what the producers of this featured documentary will feel if it were their relative or close friend that had to carry someone in their village on their backs just to see a doctor? 

This is the sad plight of our country wherein even the media is controlled by the few powerful people who only want to perpetuate their hegemony.  I truly hope that one day our media will begin to tell us what is in the interest of the many who suffer rather than what is in the interest of those that employ them.

5 thoughts on “Ambulansyang de Paa”

  1. The conditions in which many Filipinos are experiencing on a daily basis are truly appalling. Moreover, no one is happy to see people suffering. Mo Filipino is happy to see his countrymen in this dismal state. No one is proud or happy about this.

    What the documentary underscores is the tenacity of the Filipino spirit in the face of adversity. Many have been left to fend for themselves just to survive. Whether forgotten or bumped further down in the priority list of the government we just don’t know. Furthermore, it’s a wake up call to the national and local government to address these issues. Government budget, basic infrastructure, rudimentary services and other important facets of lives of Filipinos (or lack thereof) are now being brought to light once more.

    True, the power of the media is immense. It’s easy for the public to say that media is the bad guys (cause many times they are). But would you have known about the dire concerns of these particular people if not for the documentary?

    A better question than “I wonder what the producers of this featured documentary will feel if it were their relative or close friend that had to carry someone in their village on their backs just to see a doctor?” is WHAT CAN WE DO FOR THEM RIGHT NOW?

    I sympathize with your concern about the media and serving the interest of the people running it. But isn’t it more important to be proactive with the issues befalling our countrymen?

  2. Thank you Juan Paolo. I appreciate your comment. I am not so sure I understand what you mean by being proactive. I wrote this article because I think we Filipinos have learned to accept everything without thinking critically about what we see in the media. It is my hope that educating our people and telling them to look beyond the clutter and the sentimental nonsense the media shows, we will be able to come up with better ideas that will truly solve the problems our nation faces. I look forward to your response. Take care.

  3. I also believe that Filipinos have to dig deeper to what is presented to them. As for the proactive measures regarding the conditions of the Mangyans, we can not simply wait for the government to alleviate their current situation. That will be futile. There are many NGOs that can assist with medical needs. Moreover the public (especially the medically trained ones) can also give their time. Anything to help them improve their way of life even through info dissemination. I’m sure there are better suggestions to help them but the point is not to wait for the government to answer their plight.

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