U.S. military personnel with Indo-Pacific Command’s Civil Military Support Element–Philippines deliver ICU beds and COVID-19 vaccine cold storage units to staff from the Palawan provincial government in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard. (Photo from Information Office, Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines)

United States service members in Palawan handed Tuesday 10 electronic intensive care unit (ICU) beds and five storage freezers for anti-coronavirus disease vaccines worth P758,750 ($15,175) to the provincial government to help its pandemic response efforts

A presser from the information office of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ Public Affairs Section sent Wednesday said the donation was made possible by a collaboration between the US Indo-Pacific Command and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to carry the equipment on board the BRP Gabriela Silang from Manila to Puerto Princesa City.

It said it is part of a larger contribution to the Department of Health (DOH) that includes ICU beds, critical protective equipment, and vaccine cold storage units for fast delivery to medical institutions in COVID-19 high-risk regions throughout the country.

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“For over a year, the provincial government of Palawan has been making efforts to strengthen our healthcare capacity to fight against COVID-19,” Jeremias Alili, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), said in the statement. 

“This donation will help the people of Palawan a lot by upgrading our ability to fight against the pandemic. It comes at the perfect time due to the surge of new cases and will help us face this new challenge,” he added. 

The donation was made at the request of the provincial administration of Palawan, in response to an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the area.

The ICU beds will enable Palawan’s COVID-19 care facilities expand their capacity, while the cold storage units will help transport and store COVID-19 vaccines in support of the Philippines’ continuing immunization efforts.

This donation, along with future donations, supports the critical care capacity and COVID-19 vaccination efforts in rural provinces across the Philippines.

The turnover of the medical supplies were attended also by Provincial Health Office (PHO) chief Dr. Faye Labrador, PIO chief Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco, P/Maj. Allan Manuel, and Commander Rolando Lorenzana of BRP Gabriela Silang

In his speech, on the other hand, Cpt. Travis Burleson of the US-Civil Military Support Element said the donation symbolizes the 75-year bilateral relations between the United States and the Philippines.

“We are here to offer direct support to the medical facilities here in Palawan in conjunction with the anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Burleson said.
To date, the United States has provided more than Php1.9 billion ($39 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.

The Philippines is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia, and this joint U.S.-Philippine partnership builds on decades of bilateral military cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, counterterrorism, maritime security, and many other fields.

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