PCSO strengthens partnership with AFP

MANILAThe Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will continue to partner with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the smooth delivery of medical assistance to victims of calamities, PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan said on Tuesday.

I really appreciate AFP chief General Carlito Galvez Jr. for paying a courtesy call to PCSO. I didn't expect him to come to our office and say thank you to all the assistance that PCSO extended to the AFP specially during the Marawi crisis. He was then the commanding general of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) in charge of fighting the Abu Sayyaf, Jemaah Islamiyah and Maute terrorists, Balutan said in a statement.

Balutan, a retired general from the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Matikas Class of 1983; while Galvez, of the Philippine Army, is a member of PMA Sandiwa Class '85.

For his part, Galvez said the AFP-PCSO partnership is not only beneficial to people who needs immediate medical assistance in times of calamities, but also to soldiers and their dependents in times of crisis.

Balutan recalled the case of baby Gabe, a son of a Scout Ranger officer battling the terrorists in Marawi, who needed immediate operation to save his life.

I can still vividly remember my long conversation with the junior officer sending all his appeals to me during lull moments in battle asking for financial assistance for his baby boy. I'm teary-eyed reading all his messages and prayed hard he will live for his kid and wife who didn't know he was in Marawi for a very critical and dangerous mission. I said yes to all his appeals and assured him to save the life of his baby boy while praying hard also for his safety and his men doing the daring assaults to the well-entrenched positions of the terrorists, Balutan said.

He said he personally delivered medicines and bottled water worth millions of pesos to the evacuation centers in Marawi and Iligan City during the height of the military campaign against the terrorists, including the donation of a drone that ground troops used to penetrate enemy positions.

These medical services and other forms of assistance fall under PCSO's Calamity Assistance Program which is part of the 30 percent Charity Fund allocation, Balutan said.

In December 2017, Balutan said PCSO donated PHP102 million for medical equipment upgrade in selected military hospitals in Mindanao.

He said the agency also donated in November 2017 an amount of PHP20 million for the purchase of medical equipment for the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital in Camp Crame.

All these donations fall under PCSO's Institutional Partnership Program that we're strengthening all throughout the years, Balutan said.

Aside from these programs, Balutan said there is also the Endowment Fund program, the Medicines Procurement program and the Integrated for Health Overall Productivity and Empowerment (I-HOPE).

Just recently, PCSO gave PHP5 million worth of endowment fund to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City. (PCSO PR)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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