Unveiling Health Realities in Batangas


On April 1, 2024, a remarkable journey unfolded in Barangay Putol, Balayan, Batangas as diverse stakeholders, including Batangas Vice Governor Jose Antonio “Mark” Leviste II, dived deep into the heart of health challenges facing the underserved communities in the province. Supported by the Department of Health – Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) Calabarzon, Batangas Provincial Health Office, the Local Government Unit and Municipal Health Office of Balayan, and the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF), this Deep Dive activity, a guided community immersion, aimed to shed light on critical health issues and chart a course toward meaningful change.

The essence of the Deep Dive activity in the province was to deepen understanding of health inequity and empower Bridging Leadership competencies. This included enhancing awareness and comprehension of prevailing health disparities, fostering dialogue, and shaping a vision for a healthier Batangas.

Leviste remarked, “In my years as Vice Governor, this is the first time for me to experience the Deep Dive. I am looking forward to knowing more about this process.”

Immersed in the realities of Barangay Putol, encounters with expectant mothers highlighted the importance of health education and communication in dispelling misconceptions about healthcare practices. In Batangas, while healthcare is accessible, maternal mortality remains a concern due to cultural practices and socioeconomic disparities. Leviste observed, “‘Di maiwasan ang pagtitiwala sa kinagisnan tulad ng ‘hilot’. Maraming realizations in immersions like these—when leaders are brought to an unfamiliar environment to learn about the problems faced by the poor.”

Reflecting on the Deep Dive experience, Leviste said, “I feel like we need to do something about health information, education and making health services available and of quality.” Stakeholders echoed the need for comprehensive policies and collaborative efforts to bridge gaps in health services and promote reproductive health.

As the activity concluded, participants rallied around a shared vision of inclusive healthcare and empowered communities. With renewed determination, they pledged to advocate for policy reforms and intensify health promotion efforts, envisioning a future where every Batangueño has access to quality care towards the full realization of the Universal Health Care (UHC).

Armed with newfound insights and strengthened partnerships, the province is poised to journey towards a healthier, more equitable Batangas.


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