Road to recovery too long for five-year old

It will be a long way back home to Tinoc, Ifugao for Jeremiah Tuda, a five-year old confined since last March at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

"He's placed in isolation," Jenelyn, his 25-year old mother , said of her second child. She was referring to a recent bacterial infection of the toddler's wounds from a vehicular accident back home. She said she was told the infection would have to be eliminated, as per the clinical abstract, by "debridement" or removal of the infected tissue before skin grafting could be done.

Jenelyn and Jeremiah have been far from home for over four months now, away from her husband and fellow marginal farmer, Abraham, 35, and their two other kids.

All she could do by Jedremiah's bedside was to scribble an appeal for help in Filipino.

"Hindi na po namin mabili ang mga gamot na kanyaing kailangan sa sobrang kamahalan at hindi na alam kung saan ako hahanap ng pera na pambili ng kanyang pangangailangan," she admitted. "Sobra na po ang paghihirap naming ng pera kaya ko po naisip na ilapit ang problema ko sa inyo," she wrote to whoever would care to read.

Back home, Abraham has stopped farming for land-owners at P150 a day. He has to look after his two daughters – three-year old Nova and eight-year old Ivy Rose. Still, he has to travel to Baguio by this week to try to encash a Landbank check for P2,500 issued last May yet by the Tinoc municipal social welfare and development office as fund support to Jeremiah's treatment.

When Jenelyn tried to encash the check, she was told it was in the name of her husband and that he must obtain a postal identification card to be able to draw the amount.

Jeremiah's hospital bills are again jacking up to six figures despite a P57,800 Philhealth deduction and P10,000 support each from Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and Gov. Eugene Balitang who both responded the moment they heard of the boy's plight.

Jenelyn said the driver of the truck which figured in the accident could only offer limited help. She said he also could not give a definitive account of what really happened. Reportedly, he initially narratedJeremiah was ran over after he tried to climb the vehicle from behind , yet later said the kid was hit when the truck was backing up.

"Yes, I married Abraham when I was 16," she said after she was told she was only 25 with three kids. "We both come from Huhlukan, Binablayan, Tinoc, Ifugao."

"They are farm helpers who are being supplied with agricultural inputs by a rich supplier," social worker Beatrice Halip wrote in a social case study report she prepared to back up the family's request for support from charitable institutions. "During harvest time, they have to divide the net income with the rich supplier."

Samaritans out there can reach out to Jeremiah through his mother's cellphone number (09358765173). – Ramon Dacawi.

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