Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Freelancers and Health Insurance

Jessica Zafra is an acquaintance of mine for many years now. Today I was kind of shocked to hear of the news of her hospitalization and the call to friends to help her out because, as the article pointed out, “As is the case with almost all artists who work freelance, Jessica does not have health insurance.”

If you want to help out, you can donate. Check out this Facebook post on how to do exactly that.

I wish Jessica all the best and I hope she gets better soon.

She belongs to my generation of writers and artists, and our generation is slowly edging towards that age where we become susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. It’s inevitable. Our body does fail over time. We can take care of it by eating right and exercising, but we can really only do so much. One day, all of us will get sick.

That said, I do feel I have to say something about freelancers and health insurance. And the seeming acceptance that those two terms cannot exist in the same universe.

As a freelancer, YOU CAN have health insurance. You just have to do it voluntarily. And it doesn’t really cost all that much.

Here in the Philippines we have the state backed PHILHEALTH. I know, Filipinos have a general distrust of government, specially when it comes to trusting them with our hard earned money. It is corrupt and money does go to the pockets of corrupt politicians. But believe me, despite glitches here and there, PHILHEALTH is one of those government things that actually work well in the country. I’m not just saying it. It’s based on personal experience. I know there’s a bit of problem with Philhealth right now, but I’m confident it’s nothing that can’t be resolved.

I’ve had Philhealth since 2003. I was paying P300 quarterly, which is only P1200 a year. Today you pay P600 quarterly, which is P2400 year. If you start now, you can start benefiting from it nine months from now. If you are ever hospitalized, Philhealth will take care of a significant amount of that.

For example. Back in 2011, I was hospitalized. I ran a hospital bill for P90,000.00. Philhealth took care of P40,000. That’s a TON of help. I mean, where the heck can you get P40,000 just like that?

It can be daunting at first because of all the paperwork, but I tell you guys it’s all worth it.

If you feel you’re more comfortable with private insurance firms, then by all means! But to be honest, I trust them less than I do government. And yes, that too is based on personal experience. But in any case, at least get some form of insurance. Your future self will be thanking you one day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Soft and Entitled

Back in the 80′s I spent almost an entire day going from Greenhills to Makati and finally to Cubao just look look for a copy of Marvel Team Up #150 with a cover by Barry Windsor Smith. It was a long, hard day, full of frustration, sweat and spent money. I finally found a copy of it at National Book Store in Ali Mall. It felt like a victory. It felt like triumph. All the hardship that went into it was worth it.

Today it’s so easy to get a copy, specially if you’re into digital. You just punch a few buttons from the comfort of your air conditioned room and within a minute, you have a copy in your iPad.

If you want a hard copy, you can just just punch in a few buttons at Mile High Comics from the comfort of your air conditioned bedroom and within a few days the copy is at your doorstep.

The younger generation is deprived of the thrill of the hunt, and the euphoria of finding it. And I feel bad for them because it’s an experience that’s not only fun, it also builds strength of character. If you work hard for something you want, the rewards, and the experience you get from it have much more value.

It’s too late to go back to how it was in the 80s of course. It would be idiotic of anyone to assume that’s what I want.

But this generation has to find other ways, alternate ways of making you work hard for what you want. They need to have that experience. This age of convenience has has made it possible to have a soft and entitled generation. A generation who always had it easy. A generation who never had to work hard for anything. A generation who believes that’s how things are and that they’re entitled to it. The danger of this for future generations is something I cannot even imagine.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

It's May 2014

Because PLDT has been screwy for the past couple of weeks, specially after that crazy April 28 thunderstorm, my Internet has been mostly down. I had wanted to update this blog earlier, but it was just not possible. We’ve been pretty insistent on calling repair early on and PLDT has visited us twice to check things, but this seems to be a problem that they have extreme difficulty solving.

Well, whatever. As long as this interruption of service reflects on our phone bill, I won’t freak out too much. I did freak out early on, but I just got tired of it.

It was Free Comic Book Day last May 3. I never got a chance to talk about it. It’s a special FCBD for me because I was this year’s editor of Comic Odyssey’s free comic book giveaway. I had proposed to have it magazine sized with interviews and comics.

Awesome cover by Elbert Or, right? :)

I was able to bring on board guys like Whilce Portacio, Jay Anacleto, Leinil Yu, and Mark Torres to contribute pinups. But a lot of the actual work was by my team of Andrew Villar and Jon Zamar, who did the nitty gritty of putting together the comics and layout the entire thing. I came up with the interview articles.

I do this because I’ve pretty much committed to FCBD with Comic Odyssey in perpetuity several years ago. It’s when I give back to the best comic book store and comic book shop owner I’ve had the pleasure to visit and meet. Sandy Sansolis of Comic Odyssey is so passionate about comics and sharing comics that I want him to be successful in his business. The more successful he is, the better it is for us comic book fans here in the Philippines.