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Change is Upon Us! (One)

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This is going to be a three-part series, but I’m not going to submit them in a row, I’m going to stagger them, the reason is that even I get bored with the same thing for three weeks in a row so why wouldn’t our readers?
Five years ago under a previous administration when I was age sixty-five I applied for my VA disability in beautiful downtown Mega Manila. That is a bureaucratic pile of dung that even a Dung Beetle would shy away from. A new guy was elected and said he would fix it, but being Manila is the Capital City of the Philippines, I wondered if a surgical strike by an F-18 would even fix the problem. Remember I am talking about the previous VA in Manila; because Manila is still the main HQ for the VA. For those veterans’ living in the R.P. (This is also for eligible Filipinos from WW-II)

Luzon

Luzon

49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines

I retired in 1986 and just waited 26 years to file as I was living in Puerto Rico and then at sea as a seaman again and just never found the time. I have no idea how much money I lost, but as I never needed it I never cared. But when I pass on, Mayang receives nothing from the US Navy or Social Security but if I have VA she will collect that. Don’t worry about her between my savings and insurance she is well provided for. I even have Philippine burial Insurance and have never owed any money to anyone since the early 1970’s. (I do have a High-Value credit card with a $100.00-1,000.00 balance to keep it open, I’ll use it once a month and pay it off online the next day. (I told her to go wild with it my last days, and they will pay it off and send her a $1,000.00 extra.) She’s waiting! (LOL)

So in 2012, I made the journey to the VA puzzle palace after waiting three months for an appointment, prior to the drive to Manila, I phoned to confirm my appointment. “Oh, yes sir, you are scheduled for tomorrow at 0900.” I was told! At 0900 the following day after a middle of the night drive from Dinalupihan Bataan to Mega Manila, the guy at the desk asked: “Who are you and why are you here without an appointment?” Thank God the Philippines have no “Right to Bear Arms” amendment in their constitution or you would have still been reading about me in the local papers.

Through clenched teeth and choking down the bile that was welling up inside me, I explained that indeed I did have an appointment, and if you people enjoyed the monthly remittance from Uncle Sam (Or collecting Eagle Shit as we said in the US Navy.) Someone in a white lab coat had best well, start to hold my balls while asking me to turn my head and cough.

Monasterio de Tarlac Statue

Monasterio de Tarlac Statue

Within minutes my private bits were in the hands of some guy in a lab coat and I could only hope he was a doctor. Then off to an interview, a myriad of questions and thousands of little blocks were being checked. Next, they asked for my medical records. I explained that all I had were copies. (Once at the Philippines Bureau of immigration my passport was lost because I handed it to them) I’ve learned my lesson well, that giving any government anywhere on earth your original paprtworks of any type is a plum dumb idea!

My copy machine/printer was producing copies while my Niece (Shay-Shay) was paid well to sit in my living room watching TV and making copies of my medical records (Well worth it.)

The day at the VA ended and I was sent home to sit with my thumb in a body part until they contacted me. Two months later I contacted them. All was not fine; they were just waiting for a copy of my medical records! (Shay-Shay my niece, thank the Lord had made two copies) Remember my passport in Manila? You can’t get me twice.

Needless to say, my interest in a claim to the VA was fading quickly and the handwriting was clearly on the wall. It wasn’t going to happen. John McCain and Bernie Sanders co-wrote a bill that injected billions into the VA. The VA Administrators took that money and spent it on brand new offices and admin spaces, major bonuses for all higher-ups, and didn’t even hire one new Doctor. According to Washington who never followed up on the money as it was in the swamp and untraceable. Thank you, Senators McCain and Sanders, and you both wanted to be the president? Thank god that never happened!

January 2017, Paul had turned seventy and will try again. No trip to Manila VA Office was required; the VA team came to Olongapo with the Embassy Outreach. I filled out some paperwork’s and shockingly I was given a file, claim number. WHAT THE DUCK!!!

Similar to my Tri-Care Health Ins. a private contractor was hired to administer VA care overseas and their pay depends on how Veterans rate the service.

I was contacted by e-mail asking me questions about the distance to Manila I had to travel. Medical was now conducted by certified health professionals contracted to the US Government, I was phoned and e-mailed from Houston Texas and given a doctor’s appointment, asked to verify by e-mail that I received it in a timely manner, and then they (Houston) sent an appointment letter and maps on how to get there. Satisfied? So far yes

There it was just sitting at the side of the road

There it was just sitting at the side of the road

Well, Houston Texas did send me two e-mails one with an appointment on Aug. 4th and one hour later with an appoint on Aug. 3rd unsettling, but I responded back to them and they came back correcting the error within two hours and didn’t even try to blame me. I’m leaving in the morning with my Son-in-law driving me. I’ll report back and let you know how it went.

We drove north to Tarlac on SCTEX towards Tarlac and turned right, and then we passed thru Nueva Ecija, on the way to Palayan City where I saw a giant RED Horse Statue along the road. There was no logical reason for it being there, as there wasn’t any building near it only rice fields but it made the drive worthwhile. We found the office, the appointment was seamless and I felt good about how it was handled. A most relaxing drive and the scenery was quite beautiful there. Still a very long drive but it was not Manila.

End of Part One

Posted in

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Alex
Alex
4 years ago

Why didn’t you file online?

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Mr. Paul T. I will wait for the next segment before I make comments about the VA. I was also told about the attitudes of the VA personnel in Manila. How true it is, I don’t know yet.

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Mr. Paul T. I will wait for the next segment before I make comments about the VA. I was also told about the attitudes of the VA personnel in Manila. How true it is, I don’t know yet.

Jose

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Mr. Paul T. I will wait for the next segment before I make comments about the VA. I was also told about the attitudes of the VA personnel in Manila. How true it is, I don’t know yet.

Jose

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Mr. Paul T., I will wait for your next articles before I make a comment about the VA. I heard about the personnel at the VA in Manila, though. Hope you’re having a great day there in DinBat.

Jose

Jose Porfirio
Jose Porfirio
4 years ago
Reply to  Jose Porfirio

Mr. Paul T., sorry about my repeated replies..either something went wrong with my PC or my brain housing group wasn’t working correctly. 🙂

Del
Del
4 years ago

I am having problem with Tricare they want to know where I get the money to pay the copay and Friday I get a check for a bill the received 13 months ago (yes 13 months’ ago) now Tricare don’t want to pay for blood tests I spent 22 years in the Navy for this BS

Simon
Simon
4 years ago

Sorry, I’m British, what is VA?

Dave Starr
4 years ago

Paul, I salute you for once again entering into the mess that is called the VA. I should be doing this myself. I haven’t had the courage or the patience as of yet. One very, very important piece of advice in your article that should be heeded by anyone living in the Philippines. Get a simple, cheap printer which also scans (mine does, even without a computer connection, one button push). You need to copy EVERYTHING before submitting ANYTHING. In addition to important documents and forms, don’t forget mundane receipts like the TV set, tires for your car, prescriptions, etc.… Read more »

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Dave Starr

As Dave and I have discussed offline, I also make PDF copies and save them in Evernote. Another good way to beat the thermal printers that fade away.

Steve
Steve
4 years ago

Hi Paul. Hope that Philippine burial Insurance doesn’t pay off anytime soon. Mondays wouldn’t be the same for those of us left behind.

Rusty
Rusty
4 years ago

In Brazil, as you know, they have a statue of Jesus on a hill near Rio. Where is the statue in your article?

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Rusty

The article says that the statue is in Tarlac.

Douglas Kelley
Douglas Kelley
4 years ago

Hi Paul, what a nightmare! I applied in Oct 2011, finally started receiving the disability in June(?) 2015. The same old story, I would send in all the requested information with the same old response, sorry no records on file! Good thing I kept all my medical records. I finally had to mail my complete medical record to my congressman, and had his office follow up. If he had not been for him, I would still be waiting. Fortunately I have other resources to cover my current medical needs. It seems like everyone I know who goes to the VA… Read more »

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