Singapore’s Tan donates medical supplies, equipment to Basey District Hospital
BASEY, Samar- Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam made the first visit ever by a head of state to this Yolanda-hit province as he personally lead in the turnover of medical supplies and equipment to the Basey District Hospital, this town, on April 5.
Aside from the members of the Presidential Security Group and his own security personnel, about 230 policemen, both from the municipal government of Basey and the provincial headquarters based in Catbalogan City, were assigned to guard the visiting Singaporean president.
“He is a president that is why we have a very tight security measure,” said Senior Superintendent Roel Acidre, police director for Samar, said.
The province, Basey in particular, was once a hotbed of the communist armed group, the New People’s Army, which the military officials claimed to have been “neutralized.”
President Tan arrived in this town, considered the most devastated area in Samar along with Marabut, at 2:10 p.m. on April 5 and left at around 2:47 p.m.
He was joined by wife, Mary, during his visit at the Basey District Hospital, located at Barangay Loyo, this town, and was met by local officials led by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and town Mayor Igmedio Junjie Ponferrada.
Also welcoming the Singaporean president and his group were officials of the Philippine Red Cross led by its chairman, Richard Gordon and secretary general, Gwendolyn Pang.
“Of course, we are honored to be visited by him and we are very much grateful for the donations for our hospital here in Basey,” Gov. Tan said.
The 25-bed Basey District Hospital is being maintained by the provincial government, which was destroyed during the onslaught of the supertyphoon Yolanda. Several of its equipment like its X-ray machine were damaged, said its chief of hospital Dr. Rutchie Igos.
Pres. Tan, in his brief statement before the media, said that his visit to this town and the nearby Tacloban City, was for him to personally see the devastation caused by Yolanda.
And almost five months after Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) pummeled Eastern Visayas, he was “impressed” on what he saw, the visiting Singaporean president said.
“The reason why we are here is to see for ourselves the impact of typhoon Haiyan on the lives and livelihood of the communities living here.And I would say, looking around, driving here, I’m very impressed by the resiliency of the Filipino people,” he said.
Thus, he said, he is confident that the Philippines could bounce back from the massive disaster to hit the Visayas on November 8, 2013.
Tan turned over medical supplies and equipment to the officials of the Basey District Hospital. Repairs of the damaged two buildings of the hospital would need at least P6 million.
“The effort which we are doing in Basey District Hospital is one of the rehabilitation efforts which Singapore is very happy to help. You can see that the hospital was extremely affected by the typhoon; the roofs were blown off. We’ll reconstruct new roof,” he said.
The Singaporean president also said that the donation made by his country to the Philippines, coursed through the Singapore Red Cross, was an indication on the “kinship” of the two nations.
During his visit to the country, Pres. Tan announced of S$7 million as his country’s contribution to the reconstruction and rehabilitation effort of the national government.
Health Regional Director Jose Lacuna said that they need about P500 million to repair several hospitals that sustained damages due to Yolanda. (JOEY A. GABIETA)