CLARK FREEPORT -- An official of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) has clarified that the agency does not provide repairs and gas allocation for ambulances donated to local government units and other institutional partners.
“Part of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PCSO and the local government unit is this, once the deed of donation was signed, the responsibility of ambulance use and maintenance automatically goes to the beneficiaries,” Dr. Larry Cedro, assistant general manager for Charity Sector, said.
PCSO earlier received complaints that some donated PCSO ambulances are being used by government officials for personal purposes.
During emergency situations, patients shoulder the gasoline expenses which should not be the case.
Cedro clarified that under the MOA, beneficiaries are responsible in making sure that the vehicle is in top condition and that the vehicle is readily available for use by their constituents.
“Before we donate ambulances, we look at the capacity of a local government unit or beneficiaries regarding their MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses). Do they have provisions for gas and maintenance?” Cedro said.
He said beneficiaries of the ambulance program were also well informed of PCSO’s monitoring system and it has already received reports from concerned individuals regarding ambulance misuse.
Once the agency has established that there is a violation on the use of vehicle, it can readily be forfeited, the PCSO official added.
“If you know any vehicles that are misused, please report to us. We have our own monitoring system to validate that claim. It’s easy for us to say those things, but we need to substantiate everything. We need facts and documents,” he said.
Cedric said that the agency has already attended to some cases with violations and forfeited the vehicles.
Remeliza Gabuyo, AGM for Branch Operations, revealed that PCSO has already pulled out some ambulances for misuse and violations of the MOA.
At present, PCSO has a new program for ambulance donation and it is shifting its priority from ordinary ambulance to an advanced life support.
The agency now adheres to the new Department of Health (DOH) circular shifting from ambulance to patient-transport vehicle.
DOH has also issued a new administrative order to regulate the use and registration of vehicles as an ambulance.
“DOH has observed that both the PCSO as a national government agency and the local government units purchase ambulances left and right and yet the dilemma remains the same [misuse, unauthorized used, no gas, etc),” Cedro said.
He reiterated for the public to report claims of unauthorized use or misuse of ambulances.
“They may post photos on social media. PCSO committee or monitoring group will make sure to validate those evidences and/or claims and act on it accordingly,” he said.
For First, Second, and Third-class municipalities, PCSO gives a 60-40 scheme where the agency shoulders the 60 percent and the LGUs cover the 40 percent. But for Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth-class municipalities, ambulances are given for free on the condition that they can maintain them.
“PCSO does not give allocation for gas and repairs. It is incumbent upon the beneficiary to assume that requirement in so far as maintenance is concerned,” Cedro said.
“We do not have to remind them [local government officials] every now and then how to maintain it because prior to the turnover, the MOA already contains the briefer, rules and regulations being imposed by the agency regarding its utilization,” he added.