Jeneva Tirapan, a Palaw’an native from Bataraza and a freshly minted registered nurse, is embarking on a personal quest to educate her community about proper health care, including the acceptance of vaccination.
Tirapan, who finished her course in 2021 as a scholar of Bataraza’s two mining companies, observed that reliance on traditional treatments offered by local “albularyos” is still the prevailing attitude in her community, making them more vulnerable to illnesses.
“Parang hindi pa kasi open-minded pagdating sa health, dahil na rin sa nakaugalian sa albularyo,” she told Palawan News.
“Gusto ko maging instrument na maging open-minded sila about sa health. Gusto ko na maging open sila sa improvement ng health, hindi lang sa nakaugalian na,” she added.
Jeneva said that she intends to devote time and effort to educating her fellow Palaw’an about the value of good health. She wants kids to understand that they shouldn’t put off going to the hospital until they have a serious health issue.
“Gusto ko na magtiwala sila sa health workers, lalo na kapag meron sila makita na katutubo (sa ospital). Maniwala man lang sila na totoo pala ang vaccination, itong about sa health– lalo na sa pandemic na walang pinipili ang COVID,” she added.
Inspired by her advocacy for bridging IPs to health care, Jeneva took a degree in nursing and finished in 2021. However, it was not a smooth path to reach her dream, she said.
Jeneva worked on a farm and as a house helper to help support her family.
It was a struggle for her to get financial support, so she put her studies on hold for a while after graduating in the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
After four years, she went to college with the help of a scholarship she got through the Social Development Management Program (SDMP) of two Bataraza mining companies.
Based on her observation, only a few people from their community are pursuing professions in health care. She wants to stand for their community to stop some of the discrimination experienced by IPs, particularly in accessing health care services.
“Yong mga nararanasan din ng kapwa ko, parang walang lakas ng loob pagdating sa ospital. Makapagbigay man lang ako ng health teaching sa ospital kahit ‘di ko na sila maisa-isa sa kanilang bahay–Ayaw ko silang sukuan na mag-explain nang mag-explain para maintindihan ang importansya ng kalusugan,” she said.
She also dreams of working in other hospitals. But for now, she will render her service to RTNFI hospital, under the management of Nickel Asia Corporation-Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (NAC-RTNMC).
Jeneva also wants to inspire others struggling to achieve their dreams as she has also posted her story online.
She treats her license as a timely gift after celebrating her 28th birthday on July 27, Wednesday.
“Focus ka lang kung anong pangarap mo, lalo na kung dumaan ka sa matinding paghihirap. Nakita mo ‘yong ibang nagdi-discriminate, ‘yong mga magulang mo naghihirap na ayaw mo maranasan ‘yong ibang dinaranas ng ilang matatanda na– Mabagal man o mabilis, matuto tayong mag-antay at idaan sa tamang process, walang imposible naman,” she said.
She is also expressing her gratitude for the scholarship program she got from the mining company.
“Kung baga sa negosyo, binigyan kami ng puhunan at maswerte kami na palalaguin na lang namin– lalo na sa amin na mababa ang tingin ng iba, huwag namin hayaan na ganoon na lang ang tingin nila sa amin, ipakita pa namin na may mararating kami sa buhay,” she added.