BAGUIO CITY-Faith healers should be part of the government’s medical tourism program, said the faith healers of Baguio, noting they used to bring in foreign tourists by themselves.
“For three straight years in the 1970s, we were the No. 1 dollar earners for the region,” said Martin Caoili, vice president of the Baguio Healers Association.
“When the city was having this problem with meningococcemia, we were the ones who persuaded our patients to visit us here in Baguio,” said Caoili.
BHA members said they felt slighted when Purificacion Molintas, Cordillera director of the Department of Tourism, said they should be registered to be included in the DOT’s medical tourism program.
Former Tourism Secretary Roberto Pagdanganan conceived the program to showcase “cost-effective medical treatments combined with special itineraries that would highlight some of the best tourist attractions the country has to offer.”
The program is for foreign tourists “willing to undergo minimally invasive medical procedures and treatments.”
Among the medical institutions included were St. Luke’s Medical Hospital, Capitol Medical Center and Medical City, all in Metro Manila.
For Cordillera, Molintas mentioned spa resorts and the traditional Bontoc massage.
“For faith healers, they have to be registered first,” she said.
“How can you register healing? Healing is God-given and not taught in schools,” Caoili said.
“Healing is divine. Magnetic healing is unexplainable but effective,” said Placido Palitayan, vice president of the Philippine Healers Circle.
During the time of the late Tourism Secretary Jose Aspiras in the 1970s, Caoili said, faith healing in Baguio was even encouraged.
“The Philippine Airlines even coordinated my schedule so that the foreign tour groups would know where I was,” said Palitayan.
He said he used to have 100 patients a day. He said for one year in the 1970s, he had 17,000 patients from Australia alone.