MANILA

Palace suggests air ambulance for emergencies to beat traffic

FOLLOWING a report that many patients have died while being transported in an ambulance because of the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, Malacañang proposed Tuesday, September 9, the use of an air ambulance that will bring a sick person to a hospital "within minutes."

Presidential Spokesperspn Salvador Panelo made the suggestion a day after the Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that the severe traffic congestion in Metro Manila is costing the lives of patients en route to the hospital.

The AFP, in its report published on Monday, September 9, noted that "special lanes for emergency vehicles are not enforced, the infrastructure is outdated, and local drivers are often unwilling or unable to make way -- a situation experts say is causing patients to die en route."

In an interview with Palace reporters, Panelo said one of his "creative" proposals is to use an "emergency flight" to airlift patients.

The Palace official said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of National Defense (DND) may consider his suggestion.

"Kung ang problema mo traffic, hindi ka makarating sa hospital, baka naman chopper pwede within minutes (If your problem is the confested traffic and you cannot go to the hospital on time, perhaps, you can use chopper to reach the hospital within minutes)," Panelo said.

"But I think the Secretary of Health, as well as the Secretary of the DND should be coordinating with respect to that," he added.

Panelo said choppers can be used for patients who need to be rushed to either public and private hospitals for immediate medical attention.

Asked if the use of choppers for patients with serious medical condition is feasible, Panelo said: "Siguro (Perhaps), the DOH should consider that too in relation to public service. Perhaps, they should include that in the next budget where they can ask the help of other agencies that can buy choppers to be converted into an ambulance chopper."

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has pushed anew for the grant of emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to solve the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila.

The House of Representatives expressed openness to grant the special traffic-related authority to the President, while the Senate is not inclined to grant the DOT's renewed plea.

Panelo said the deaths of patients due to Manila's chaotic traffic should be considered by the Senate.

"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," he said. (SunStar Philippines)


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