TO improve its emergency services and decongest the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC), the Cebu City Government, in cooperation with its sister city, Haarlemmermeer of the Netherlands, will establish barangay-based emergency medical response units and health care facilities.

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council head Nagiel Bañacia said Barangay Mabolo has been chosen as the project pilot area as this is an identified disaster high-risk area.

“It’s always flooded even with light rain. It will also be easier for Haarlemmermeer to present this to their constituents because we anchor our project on climate change adaptation and mitigation,” he said.

With this, the City Government is looking into the improvement of the present ambulance system by making sure both city and barangay emergency rescue personnel are well trained.

A few days after Mayor Tomas Osmeña assumed office, Bañacia said their evaluation on the City’s ambulance services revealed a need to have proper personnel training, updated equipment and upgraded health center capacity.

Last month, the City ordered the recall of ambulances stationed in different barangays, including its personnel, for inventory.

Bañacia said the ambulance staff must first undergo a comprehensive training on emergency response before they can have the vehicles back.

Given the assessment, Vriendschapsband Haarlemmermeer Cebu (VHC), a Dutch nongovernment organization, will provide funding for the training of emergency medical responders and ambulance personnel, which costs P20,000 each.

The training, which will start in November, will be handled by the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (Eruf).


There are 18 City Government paramedics that are currently undergoing training as emergency medical technicians at the Eruf center in Mandaue City.

“This is better than the present training of Eruf in ambulance personnel because this is accredited by Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). This is the first time in Cebu City that we have ambulance personnel accredited by Tesda,” Bañacia said.

After the training, the City will then purchase new equipment as part of the ambulances’ upgrade.

VHC will allocate a total of 45,000 euros (P2.3 million based on yesterday’s exchange rate) for the program’s entire three-year course. The City will be receiving 15,000 Euros annually from VHC.

For its part, the City will be assigning more doctors, nurses and midwives in villages to make health centers operational for 24 hours.

Osmeña, on the other hand, said the project is directed at trying to decongest the CCMC.

“We’re trying to avoid going upstream and people ending up at CCMC so that many of the functions can be done in health centers. Hopefully, those who’ll be admitted are those diagnosed with severe needs. We’re now trying to reverse the process that as much as possible, the services will be provided on site where the person is,” he said.

Osmeña said the City is also working with another private source who will be providing medical supplies and equipment.

“You see, the whole world does not revolve around drugs. There are many things that need to be addressed and this is one of those that were working on. There are also other projects that we’ll be pursuing,” he said.