"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

The Plight of Filipino Priest Fr. Eusebio Pablito Maghari

Talk about security of tenure or worse the ridiculous dreaded death panel of the tea baggers appears to be so real yet surreal when it comes to the plight of Fr. Eusebio Pablito Maghari.

Maghari or father Pabs to his friends who spent or devoted 33 years of his life to the priesthood was sent to New York six years ago in order to fill the shortage of priest. He dutifully served the community of St. Peter’s R.C. Church in New Brighton for about six years, a church under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of New York. Everything would have worked well, Fr. Maghari answering the call of his avocation while filling the shortage gap. Until, Fr. Pabs was unfortunately struck with a kidney ailment last August of 2009 brought about by diabetes needing weekly dialysis, losing his sight in one eye and has to be on a strict diet regimen, that things took not just a sour note but even of deadly repercussion.

Fr. Maghari now 59 years old due to his condition was stripped of his priestly duties; ineligible for permanent assignment to St. Peter’s, and worse was told in a letter by the archdiocese Office of Priest Personnel to vacate the parish as it was not an appropriate place for him to live. The archdiocese wanted him to return to his poorer diocese in the Philippines for his care and medical needs.

This is the archdiocese and not some cold greedy corporate entity concerned with profitability or with the bottom line and yet it appears that compassion seems to be missing where one least expects. Perhaps the archdiocese of New York is not aware that the Philippines are poor and the diocese that Fr. Maghari belongs is even poorer. Are they not aware that health care and health insurance in the Philippines are not exactly at par with the US standards?

It cost US$1,000 or roughly P480,000 for a kidney dialysis in the Philippines that is just for one treatment but with Fr. Maghari requiring treatment once a week that is beyond reach not just for a priest but even those of the Philippine highest middle income group cannot afford it. Nope, not by any shred of imagination, even the rich will likely go to the poorhouse in a couple of months with that kind of treatment and yet the New York archdiocese deems it fit for Fr. Maghari to seek medical help and care in his poor diocese.

Priest earns a pittance, they are not compensated like a CEO of a big corporation and to cut him off would mean loss of salary and will have to pay for his own insurance. Exactly where will Fr. Maghari who as all priest do takes a vow of poverty will he earn a living to pay for his health insurance? Once that health insurance expires what is the likelihood that the insurance companies will refuse his coverage for pre-existing condition? I say most likely he will be dropped like a hot potato.

The priesthood is the only life Fr. Maghari knows and has dedicated all his life to doing, to deny him of his love for his avocation he considers a god given gift makes him feel that he is forsaking his faith. Fr. Maghari maybe ill but with the help of his strong faith and strong community support from the parishioners he can move with ease and that illness alone he says should not prevent him from doing his priestly duties.

Despite all these, thanks to the outpouring of support although he still needs more of it he has not shown any bitterness or is blaming anyone for his plight. Perhaps the archdiocese of New York should reconsider their decision and as Fr. Maghari is praying for, that people should come to their senses just so he can continue his duties and avocation.

This is precisely why the need for health insurance reform should be passed without delay, even the religious are getting affected with deadly consequence.

Sign the petition supporting Fr. Eusebio Pablito Magjari.

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