Ambulance donations made during Lapid's term in Pampanga—Eddie Panlilio | Inquirer News

Ambulance donations made during Lapid’s term in Pampanga—Eddie Panlilio

Pangasinan paid 40% cost of ambulances says gov
/ 09:48 PM July 04, 2011

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—Former Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio said the five ambulances received by the provincial government in September 2007 were among the eight ambulances requested by former Governor Mark Lapid for the nine district hospitals and the provincial hospital.

“The other three were no longer given due to [my] falling out with PGMA (former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo),” Panlilio said, referring to his disclosure of receiving P500,000 after he joined a meeting of local officials with Arroyo – who was then facing a threat of impeachment – in Malacañang.

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The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), he said, required him to personally receive the ambulances for “photo-op (photo opportunity) only.”

“In fact, the photo-op was supposed to be with then Representative Mikey Arroyo (a son of Mrs. Arroyo) but he was not able to come,” Panlilio said.

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The ambulances were issued to the Diosdado Pangan Macapagal Memorial Hospital and the district hospitals of Porac, Romana Pangan, San Luis and Balitucan. The ambulances bore the photograph and name of Mrs. Arroyo.

“I never had my face or name posted on these ambulances as it had been my policy not to ascribe my name or face in any government-funded project or program,” Panlilio said.

The provincial government during his term, he said, did not avail itself of PCSO ambulances under a 60-40 percent arrangement because these were assessed to be “overvalued.”

In Pangasinan, Gov. Amado Espino Jr. said the provincial government did not get the 18 ambulances from PCSO for free.

“We paid our share of 40 percent,” Espino said.

Based on records from the provincial accountant’s office, the province paid a counterpart of P356,000 for every ambulance it received in 2009 and 2010.

Dr. Jackson Soriano, director of the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, said the cost sharing scheme for the ambulances was embodied in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the PCSO and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP), the umbrella organization of local governments.

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Pangasinan runs a provincial hospital, six district hospitals and seven community hospitals serving at least 2.6 million residents.

Espino said that when he assumed office in 2007, the ambulances in the hospitals were already 10 years old and were no longer in good running condition. “Some of them could not even travel far then. So, we really needed new ambulances,” he said.

Espino said that with the new ambulances, maternal and infant mortality rates in the province went down because mothers about to give birth were promptly taken to the hospitals.

Espino said the acquisition of new ambulances was part of his goal to improve basic health services in the province.

In Ilocos Sur, Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano said there was nothing wrong when the province accepted 20 ambulances from the government during his term as governor.

“We thank former President Macapagal-Arroyo for the ambulances to help solve health concerns, particularly in transporting patients in the province,” he said.

Savellano said that if asked, he would again request for additional ambulances to serve more communities.

In Tarlac, former Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan, the former president of the Tarlac Mayors League, said he received two ambulances from PCSO in 2007 and 2009 but that the donations underwent due processing.

“Yes, I received an ambulance from PCSO as the national government’s counterpart in our Ospital ning Capas project. It was delivered to us in August 2009 after I [asked Arroyo] to help us in our hospital project. Malacañang referred my request to the PCSO,” Catacutan said.

“I received the ambulance in good faith, for the people of Capas. The donation underwent due process. We did not break any rule. The MOA between PCSO and Ulap that requires [local government] recipients to shoulder 40 percent of the cost of ambulance donated by PCSO was not implemented until January 2010,” Catacutan said.

“The hospital was built at P30 million through a 50-50 basis with our Korean counterpart. [The Capas government] spent P15 million and the Good People International of Korea shouldered the other P15 million. The national government’s contribution was only the ambulance given by PCSO,” he said.

In Nueva Ecija, Rep. Rodolfo Antonino said he asked PCSO for an ambulance but this was given to the Association of Barangay Captains in Gapan City.

“I requested the ambulance on their behalf,” said Antonino, Central Luzon chairman of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party during the Arroyo administration.

In Bulacan, San Rafael Mayor Lorna Silverio, a former representative of the third district, said her office received funds from PCSO but these were used for the hospital expenses and other medical needs of her constituents during her term from 2007 to 2010.—Reports from Tonette Orejas, Jun Malig, Armand Galang and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon, and Gabriel Cardinoza and Leoncio Balbin Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon

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