January 18th marked the delivery of the first of two containers to the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City, Philippines. The container filled with medical supplies and equipment came via the generosity of the people of Guam. The Office of Senator James V. Espaldon worked closely with the Ayuda Foundation, the Filipino Community of Guam (FCG) and mainland partner MedShare International to make the donation possible.
Present to receive the 40 foot container were Ms. Luli Arroyo-Bernas (daughter of President Gloria Arroyo), newly minted Secretary of Health Esperanza Cabral, Assistant Health Secretary Elmer Punzalan and Hospital administrator Dr. Ricardo Lustre. Also witnessing the turnover of the medical goods and supplies were doctors, nurses and patients; all who expressed their gratitude for the generous gesture made by the people of Guam.
It was an emotional moment seeing the expression on the faces of the medical staff as the container was opened revealing the pallets stacked high with needed supplies and medical equipment. Other hospital administrators who had joined the event were envious and wanted to know how they could receive such a donation, said Espaldon who made the presentation on behalf of the people of Guam. Government officials noted that it was the fastest turnaround that they have experienced in getting donated goods delivered.
The donation was made possible through monetary donations that came from our island community. FCG was the largest donor, giving $20K. Other donors were San Vitores Church, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, several local doctors and companies including National Office Supply, J&G Enterprises, and the DFS Durables Committee. Several thousand dollars were raised through the Ayuda Foundation Golf Tournament, donation containers at various stores and restaurants (Burger King, Wendys, Cold Stone), and over $400 from a penny-drive at Jose Rios Middle School.
The kindness and compassion of our island community is what makes Guam truly special. Guam has made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands who use this hospital, said Espaldon. The Amang Rodriguez Hospital serves over half a million people in Marikina.
Senator Espaldon met with Ms. Arroyo-Bernas shortly after Typhoon Ondoy to coordinate the medical relief effort. President Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo chose the Marikina hospital as the beneficiary because it was the most damaged hospital. Ms. Arroyo-Bernas provided assistance through the Department of Health and Bureau of Customs.
This is partnership across the Pacific and two continents with Guam as the key said Espaldon. Through the relationships of Ayuda Foundation Executive Director Carlotta Leon Guerrero, the money raised on Guam was used to leverage the purchase of medical equipment and supplies from MedShare International worth over $200K. Espaldon secured the free container from Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. Ltd., as well as the logistics and handling in the Philippines through cellular giant SMART Communications. A second container filled with medicines and supplies valued at $950K from MAP International will be delivered in late February.