THE Regional Office V of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), in partnership with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples V, turned over a lake ambulance to the Agta Tabagnon tribe of Buhi, Camarines Sur. This lake ambulance is the first of its kind in the country.
Dubbed PhilHealth TaLA (Tabagnon Lake Ambulance), the vessel aims to cater to the needs of the tribe's members for greater access to mainland facilities and resources, especially its sick members needing immediate medical attention in the hospitals and health centers. The lake ambulance is also equipped with basic medical gear such as wheeled stretcher, oxygen tank, wheelchair and spinal boards. Because of its upgraded engine, it takes the lake ambulance only 6 minutes to cross the lake, compared to 20 minutes via ordinary passenger boats.
The lake ambulance was turned over by PRO V Regional Vice President Orlando D. Iņigo, Jr. and NCIP Executive Director Rogelio Francisco Bantayan, Jr. to the Agta Tabagnon tribe, represented by Bgy. Sta Cruz Tribal Chieftain Felicitas Alano who expressed her heartfelt appreciation on behalf of the tribe and residents of the lakeside barangays.
Also present were the three division chiefs of PRO V, Dr. Veronica T. Mateum of the Health Care Delivery Management, Dr. Ronald E. Santelices of Field Operations, and Lorena M. Rubis of Management Services, and NCIP V Regional Director Lee T. Arroyo.
The project was funded by proceeds of the PhilHealth Ready, TSeKaP, Go Run held last February 15, 2015 in Naga City. More than 4,000 runners joined the event to help raise the Php 1.1 million in funds. Php 400,000 was donated to the Naga City Children's Home to improve the sleeping areas of the children temporarily housed there. The remaining amount was used to construct the lake ambulance.
After the turnover, the Local Health Insurance Office - Camarines Sur, led by Acting Head Annielyn San Pablo, conducted an AlaGa Ka activity to inform the Agta Tabagnons about PhilHealth membership registration, health insurance benefits and claims reimbursement. PhilHealth IDs were also released to Agta Tabagnon members.
Iņigo said that PhilHealth Regional Office V, through several other projects, will continue to provide assistance not just to indigenous peoples, but to all vulnerable sectors of society. (END) (Geraldine F. Naron, R.N.)
(Reference: Dr. Israel Francis A. Pargas, Head Executive Assistant and Concurrent OIC-Vice President for Corporate Affairs Group, Cel No. 0917-8089399)