Aida Esmael and her children sporting the ‘Kaya Ko’ sign.

ISLA VERDE, Davao City (DSWD XI) – A mother of eight, 46 year-old Aida Esmael is lighthearted now that she has Pantawid Pamilya and PhilHealth to back her up when any medical need arises.

Several years ago, Aida recalls how she and her children would queue outside the office of a non-government organization that provides free feeding programs. “Akoang mga anak sa una mga malnourished. Ug wala mi igo nga kwarta aron ipalit sa ilang mga gatas ug uban pang vitamins (My children before were malnourished. We did not have enough money before to buy their milk and vitamins).”

Ang akoang bana, si Edris, usa lamang ka mangingisda. Kung wala siyay kuha, hapay; apan kung naa, lipay. Ing-ana amoang kinabuhi sa una (My husband Edris, was a mere fisherman back then. If there is no catch, we had nothing but if there is, we are ecstatic. That was life back then).”

Aida lost her daughter Pornima in 2013, due to a rare bone disease. Her eight children  Preciosa, 16, Grade 9; Laura, 14, Grade 6; Norhan, 12, Grade 5; Gean Carlo, 9, Grade 4; Golam, 8, Grade 1; Fatima, 4, Kindergarten; Nathaniel, 4; and Airis, 1; attend classes at Zonta Elementary School.

As a mother who’s still grieving the loss of her child, Aida never wanted to experience the same pain ever again.

Karon nga naa na ang Pantawid ug PhilHealth dili nako maguol kung magsakit-sakit akoang mga anak o akoang bana (With Pantawid and PhilHealth now, I no longer worry whenever any of my children or my husband gets sick),” shared Aida.

Naay usahay nga ma-admit akoang mga anak tungod sa suka ug kalibanga, dili nako maguol. Ipakita lang nako akoang ID sa 4Ps, i-honor na nila. Mangutana man gud na sila kung naa koy PhilHealth. Ipakita lang nako sa ilaha akoang ID sa 4Ps. Dawaton dayon nila ug makakuha pa kog libreng tambal, dextrose nga available sa ilahang botica (When my children are admitted due to nausea or diarrhea, I no longer get anxious. I just present my 4Ps ID, they will automatically honor it. They would ask me if I am a PhilHealth recipient. I would just show them my 4Ps ID. They would accept it right away and I also get to avail free medicines and dextrose that are available in their pharmacy),” Aida gleefully shared.

Aida’s family is one of the 264,371 Pantawid households in Region XI that have been identified as “poorest of the poor” through the Listahanan national assessment and are automatically enrolled in PhilHealth.

The premiums of the beneficiaries are paid for by the national government. The beneficiary only has to present his/her Member Data Record (MDR) and Pantawid Pamilya ID at the hospital. The patient is admitted and automatically entitled to PhilHealth’s No Balance Billing (NBB). NBB was started in 2011. (DSWD)