The Department of Health has formally launched today, March 15, its air ambulance services in the MIMAROPA region following the introduction of two units of air ambulance at the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan. The said units can transport patients from the scene of emergency to the nearest health care facility in the region.
DOH-MIMAROPA Regional Director Eduardo Janairo called the service the most effective and quickest response in saving a patient’s life, especially for “geographically isolated” places like Palawan and MIMAROPA’s other provinces.
The air ambulance, which include a six-seater Cessna 2016 and a four-seater Robinson R44 Helicopter, were provided by the Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services Incorporated (PAMAS) through a memorandum of agreement.
“People should know that the extension office of the DOH here in Palawan will be the one to manage that. We have given them funds for the maintenance. In completing the gadgets for emergency ambulance, we will be assisting them though the office of Dr. [Peter] Curameng. Dr. Curameng will also be the one to coordinate that with PAMAS. All the rest in MIMAROPA, all the areas in Metro Manila, will be coordinated to Dr. Curameng, who wanted to use the ambulance,” Janairo explained.
Janairo added that if needed, transport of patients from MIMAROPA provinces to DOH tertiary hospitals in Metro Manila will be allowed. The air ambulance will also cater to indigent patients and indigenous communities.
Director Sean Knapp of PAMAS has extended his gratitude to DOH for making them a partner in said endeavor. He also assured safety and expertise in the field.
“We do our best to maintain and praise God that [despite] the weather, we never had any single mishap. We’ve never lost any lives. Amihan and habagat [have] no mercy. Your weather here is very tough,” Knap said.
Captain Knapp added that PAMAS pilots can also serve as paramedics and can assist the patient should the need arises.
A 24/7 emergency unit will be established in every DOH provincial office. For Palawan, emergency numbers that can be contacted are 09985492585 and 09175331651.
PAMAS is a non-stock, non-profit and SEC-registered faith-based, volunteer-driven organization that spread the gospel in the Philippines through the use of an aviation and medical ministry.
The ceremony was also attended by Vice-Governor Dennis Socrates, Ospital ng Palawan’s Director Melecio Dy and other partners.