Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Barry Baguio (in blue shirt) briefs PCSO Chairman Jose Jorge E. Corpuz (middle) and PCSO Gen. Manager Alexander F. Balutan (left) on the effects of typhoon "Vinta." (Photo by PCSO-Corplan)

MANILA -- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) heeded the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately provide an ambulance unit to Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte, after it was wiped out by raging floods in the wake of the onslaught of Tropical Storm "Vinta."

In a briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) held in Tubod, Lanao del Norte Wednesday, Kapatagan Mayor Barry Yu Baguio told Duterte that their municipality needed an ambulance since the one they were using was destroyed during rescue operations during the height of "Vinta".

Duterte immediately directed the PCSO to respond to the request of Baguio, knowing that the charitable agency has an Ambulance Donation Program aimed at providing all local government units (LGUs) with ambulances.

On Friday, just two days after Duterte's call, PCSO released the ambulance unit to the municipality of Kapatagan.

The turnover of the ambulance took place at the PCSO head office in Mandaluyong City.

PCSO Chairperson Jose Jorge Corpuz and General Manager Alexander Balutan personally handed over the ambulance unit to Baguio and Municipal Health Officer Nilda Mendoza.

“I thank President Duterte for the immediate action on our request. I also thank PCSO for their fast action for us to get the ambulance today. We really need this vehicle since we all know that there is another typhoon coming,” said Baguio.

Meanwhile, Corpuz said the PCSO promptly acted on the directive of Duterte knowing that Lanao del Norte is one of the provinces badly hit by "Vinta".

“PCSO is always ready to help. In fact, PCSO will be extending financial assistance for the provinces affected by “Vinta” in the amount of PHP5.4 million for the purchase of various relief goods and items,” said Balutan.

More than PHP400 million worth of damages on properties, agriculture and livestock was reported in Kapatagan, while about 6,000 persons or 1,355 families were displaced in the area.

However, Baguio said he remains grateful that no casualty was recorded in their municipality. (PNA)