The Botika sa Katawhan (People’s Drugstore) will close its services to the public ending eleven years of free medicine supplies to residents of Tagbilaran City.
Former Deputy City Mayor and City Tourism Officer Mario Uy lamented the impending closure of his pet project after long festering issues regarding the operation of the pharmacy flared up over DYRD “Inyong Alagad”.
Uy broke into tears after venting out his frustrations against city hall officials who allegedly paid no heed to his long standing requests for the upgrade of salaries of city-paid employees assigned at the Botika sa Katawhan.
Uy rued the lack of recognition for his efforts to improve the delivery of health services in the city saying “I felt a sense of loss after my efforts were apparently ignored by the present administration”.
Even a basic necessity of providing his office with a private rest room was apparently ignored by city officials which Uy took as a personal affront to his position.
According to Uy, due to his advancing age and the apparent inaction on the part of city officials on his requests, “I decided to pull out the drugstore from the premises of the city hall and temporarily cease operations”.
Uy turned his ire on City Health Officer Dr. Apollo John Bernaldez whom he blamed for the sorry state of affairs of the privately run pharmacy.
However, Bernaldez downplayed Uy’s claim saying “I am surprised by Mr. Uy’s complaints since we have always attended to his requests”.
Bernaldez worked at the Botika sa Katawhan before his appointment as City Health Officer.
Bernaldez explained to Uy over “Inyong Alagad” that the issue of employees increase compensation has been forwarded to the officials concerned.
The city health officer said “I have recommended for the upgrade of the salaries of the pharmacy employees even as the pharmacist are hired on a contractual basis”
Bernaldez also belied the claim of Uy that he was deprived the use of a private rest room saying “we have given the keys to Mr. Uy to assure that his privacy will be assured when he uses the rest room”.
The Botika sa Katawhan started as a joint project with Dr. Sharleen Lim, wife of then City Mayor Dan Lim, serving the health needs of the city residents through regular free clinics.
The demand for free medicines prompted Uy to access his vast network of friends in the United States and Europe for free medicines that gave birth to the Botika sa Katawhan.
The establishment of the BotikaÂ Katawhan was borne out of his civic duty to ease the financial burden of residents for medicines according to Uy.
Uy also told DYRD “Inyong Alagad” that he was pulling out the remaining medicines in the drugstore and was giving them out to neighboring towns.
Efforts to mediate the differences between the well-known philanthropist and city hall officials are now in progress for the welfare of the city residents dependent on the free medicines of the Botika sa Katawhan. (Chito M. Visarra)