MANILA, Philippines?President Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the deployment of a medical team to help treat the victims of a devastating earthquake in Haiti, and again voiced sympathy with the Haitians.
?We are ready to send a medical mission to Haiti,'' Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in a briefing.
The medical mission, composed of 25 trauma and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, sanitary engineers and public health workers, will be deployed on Sunday at the earliest, acting Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral said.
?They are trying the best and fastest way to get there,'' she said by phone, noting that the team is expected to perform medical operations, stress debriefing, and counseling, among others.
Ms Arroyo said she has sent a personal message to President Rene Garcia Preval ?conveying our profound condolences, and pledging support and assistance to rescue and recovery efforts.''
She said that the Filipino nation was joining the international community in ``expressing sympathy and support'' for Haiti.
?It is our fervent wish that Haiti recovers quickly and fully from this tragedy,'' she said in a statement which Remonde read during the briefing in Malacañang.
Three members of the Philippine peacekeeping force in Haiti, composed of 157 soldiers and 15 policemen, were earlier reported to have been trapped in the UN headquarters that collapsed.
``Search-and-rescue efforts, however, continue round-the-clock, and will not stop until all are accounted for. We are coordinating closely with the United Nations to ensure the rescue and safety of all the peacekeepers,'' Ms Arroyo said.
She said she has directed the Philippine ambassador to Cuba, MacArthur Corsino, to fly to Haiti to personally check on the estimated 290 Filipinos living and working in Haiti, and ?coordinate rescue efforts.''
Remonde said that the National Disaster Coordinating Council was prepared for any earthquake of the same magnitude.
?Heaven forbid that a similar tragedy should befall the Philippines. However, if it does, our National Disaster Coordinating Council is at a level of preparedness to meet that contingency,'' he said.