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For 2 cops, delivering baby in bus ‘call of duty’

INSP. MAVIDETTE Ongjunco, a practicing nurse before she joined the police force, helps deliver a baby aboard a moving bus, an act which earned for her and Insp. Arnel Cera, who also helped in the delivery, medals that the two officers said were more important than money. PHOTO FROM PNP-PIO

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga—Kindness, indeed, has its own reward.

In the case of two police officers who helped a woman give birth to her second child inside a moving bus in Tarlac on July 26, each received a medal for exemplary service in rites held in this regional police camp on Monday.

“I’m very happy to get the medal,” Inspector Mavidette Ongjunco told the Inquirer.

It was the first award she received from the Philippine National Police since she joined the service on Dec. 14, 2012, she said.

Ongjunco, 30, said she was a registered nurse before she joined the PNP.

The bus scene gave her another first: Aiding in the delivery of a baby aboard a moving vehicle.

She said her experience as a staff nurse at Quezon City General Hospital prepared her for this emergency when she and Insp. Arnel Cera helped their fellow passenger, Mary Rose Palisoc, 21, deliver her child aboard a Pangasinan-bound bus.

“It was a call of duty for me and Inspector Cera. We needed to give help. We responded to an emergency,” Ongjunco said.

Cera said he and Ongjunco attended a bloodletting activity at the Tarlac capitol in Tarlac City and boarded the Five Star bus on their way to Camiling town where they were on field training.

At 11:30 a.m. and while the bus was along the Romulo Highway, a male passenger announced that a woman was about to give birth and asked if there was any nurse on board.

Cera said Ongjunco approached the woman and asked if she can make it to the hospital.

“When Mary Rose said she could not, Inspector Ongjunco asked for a towel to cover the woman from the waist down. I relayed her instruction to the passengers who were very cooperative. They gave towels,” Cera said.

“I asked the passengers to clear the middle seats of the bus to give the woman some air and privacy. They did. When the baby’s head appeared, there was silence. When the baby boy cried, they clapped in joy,” he said.

To protect the mother and her baby from infection, Ongjunco did not cut the umbilical cord and instead instructed the driver to bring them to the nearest hospital, Cera said.

No passenger complained when the bus headed for Gilberto Teodoro Memorial Hospital in Camiling, he said.

Cera said he stepped out of the bus, went to the emergency room and asked for a doctor and a stretcher. The police officers did not leave until the mother and baby were properly turned over to the care of the hospital.

Ongjunco and Cera went to their station to report the incident and returned to the hospital to check on Palisoc, who was accompanied by her eldest child, a 4-year-old daughter.

“[Palisoc] did not know that she was about to give birth. She had not undergone any medical checkup during her pregnancy,” said Ongjunco.

She said Palisoc, a native of Bugallon, Pangasinan, has asked her to stand as godmother to the boy that the mother is planning to name “Five Star.” Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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