Panelo suggests choppers for emergency patients amid traffic woes

MANILA Why not use choppers to transport patients seeking emergency care amid worsening traffic in Metro Manila?

This was the suggestion made by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo following an Agence France-Presse report which bared that worsening traffic in Metro Manila is causing patients to die en route.

Panelo said since Congress has yet to grant emergency powers to solve traffic mess, concerned agencies should be creative in finding ways to make sure patients reach hospitals on time.

They should be creative. They should look for roads that are not traffic-laden or perhaps they can use choppers or an emergency flight, Panelo said.

Panelo said choppers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) could be utilized for patients in need of emergency care.

The Secretaries of Health and Defense should be coordinating with respect to the use of choppers for both public and private hospitals, he said.

If it concerns the lives of people, then we cannot be distinguishing whether it's public or private, Panelo said.

Panelo, however, clarified that the use of choppers for patients would be different from an air ambulance that is medically-equipped.

Hindi naman air ambulance, parang ano lang (Not an air ambulance, just a vehicle used in) carrying the patient, Panelo said.

Eh kung nag problema mo traffic, hindi ka makarating sa hospital, baka naman chopper puwede, (If the problem is traffic and you can't reach the hospital, perhaps a chopper could be utilized) within minutes, he added.

Asked if the government has sufficient funds to utilize the AFP choppers, Panelo said: Bakit naman hindi (Why not), I think it's just a question of the Secretary of Health calling the Secretary of DND and agree on a modus vivendi on how to do it.

Siguro (Perhaps) the DOH should consider that too in relation to public service. Perhaps they should include that in the next budget or they can ask the help of other agencies that can buy them choppers to be converted into an ambulance chopper, Panelo said.

Emergency powers

Panelo said incidents that cost the lives of patients should give Congress more reason to grant emergency powers.

Because of that then with more reason that the members of the Senate consider the grant of emergency powers given that particular situation wherein even patients are dying because the ambulance carrying them could not reach the hospital on time, Panelo said.

He, meanwhile, said President Rodrigo Duterte is still requesting for emergency powers to solve traffic but will leave it to Congress to pass the measure or not.

Ever since he wanted it but kung ayaw ninyo, 'di huwag sabi niya (but if you don't want to grant it, then don't, he said). In other words, he will not go down his knees and plead, Panelo said.

They should know what the President needs in order to solve the problems of the country specifically with respect to this matter, he added.

This is not the first time Panelo made a suggestion to solve traffic. Last month, he suggested the implementation of a 24-hour work activity some working in the day, some at night to ease the worsening traffic.

At present, the House of Representatives has already approved the emergency powers bill at the committee level while Senate has been hesitant about granting emergency powers over corruption concerns.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, however, assured that there will be no corruption in the implementation of transportation projects once the proposed emergency powers are in place. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency