By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) today signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the military that will pave the way for the transfer of P102 million to buy medical equipment for military hospitals especially those located in the frontline.
No less than PCSO general manager Alexander Balutan was present during the MOA signing held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
Representing the military is Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. Salvador Melchor B. Mison Jr. who signed on behalf of AFP chief of staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
During an interview, Balutan said the financial assistance will be used by hospitals to buy equipment for the medical care of soldiers wounded in action (WIA) especially those in Mindanao.
Aside from various terrorist groups operating in Mindanao, soldiers also have to deal with New People’s Army (NPA) operating in the eastern part of the island.
“It will be given to hospitals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially those hospitals in the frontline,” Balutan said.
“So we are prioritizing it because it’s for the immediate medical care of our troops especially those who are fighting in Mindanao [and] who are having difficulty because of lack of medical facilities and equipment of the AFP in those areas,” Balutan said.
“Before they are sent here to Manila, we need to stabilize them (patients) first. It’s better if the hospitals there are equipped or have state-of-the art facilities so that it is there where the wounded will recuperate and be able to return immediately to the field,” he said.
According to AFP spokesman and Public Affairs chief Marine Col. Edvard Arevalo, there are 32 military treatment facilities (MTF) in the country.