|NEWS & NOTICES|
Aling Carmen brought her seven children with her to the makeshift tent that was to serve as a medical station in the middle of Barangay Mapandan, Cainta, Rizal in the morning of October 2, 2009. Having survived the killer flashfloods that claimed hundreds of lives at the height of Typhoon Ondoy, Aling Carmen could not contain her emotions seeing the AMA Tulong Sa Bayan Medical Team brought together by AMA Education System, pull up in a small clearing in their locality.
It was only six days ago that day when residents of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces helplessly watched as the deluge brought about by Typhoon Ondoy overwhelmed the natural waterways, engulfing the land, claiming many innocent lives, and leaving a number, missing. During that fateful Saturday dusk, Aling Carmen was horrified to witness people she knew being swallowed up by the inundation. All the screaming and crying, according to her, was deafening.. She really believed that they would not survive this calamity.
September 26, 2009 was to be written on the pages of history books, forever.
Countering the sudden tragedy that fell like a curtain of doom to the rich and poor alike, the AMA Education System, through its chairman Ambassador Amable R. Aguiluz, V and president Dr. Amable C.. Aguiluz, IX, immediately moblized its doctors, nurses and students to the areas most hardly hit by the typhoon. Medicines for the most anticipated illnesses were brought by the medical teams. An ambulance was also taken to the sites in case there was a need.
As early as Monday after the tragedy, the chairman and the president have already ordered for the teams to be deployed and budget for the relief items to be released. The following day, the St. Augustine cluster was already in Cainta, Rizal coordinating with the office of Mayor Mon Ilagan through councilor Pia Velasco, for the sites in need of the most immediate attention.
On September 30, Wednesday, St. Augustine Schools of Nursing Cubao, Lagro and Mandaluyong started conducting their medical mission in Brgy. Don Mariano, Cainta, Rizal. The East Rizal, Mandaluyong and Quezon City campuses, on the other hand, went straight to Concepcion Elementary School in Marikina, in close coordination with Mayor Marides Fernando, to reach out to her city’s 1,800 grief-stricken families
Thursday, October 1, found the St. Augustine Schools of Nursing Espana and Las Pinas medical team in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig, together with GMA 7’s morning show Unang Hirit while the team from St. Augustine College of Nursing Quezon City was in Santolan, Pasig, with ABS-CBN’s pioneering early morning magazine program Umagang Kay Ganda. St. Augustine Colleges of Nursing East Rizal and Quezon City also formed a team that went to Brgy Halang, Cainta Rizal on the same day while a fourth team was put up by St. Augustine Schools of Nursing Caloocan, Espana and Quezon City and AMA School of Medicine Makati’s Dr. Europa and medical students to reach out to the residents of Brgy Bagong Silang, Cainta, Rizal.
October 2, Friday, had two teams. The first team was composed of volunteer doctors, nurses and students from St. Augustine Schools of Nursing Cubao, Espana, Lagro, Mandaluyong and Quezon City which went to Pililia Town in Rizal in coordination with GMA Kapuso Foundation. The second team made up of volunteer-delegates from St. Augustine Colleges of Nursing East Rizal and Makati, and St. Augustine Schools of Nursing Las Pinas, Makati and Paranaque was assigned to Brgy Mapandan in Cainta, Rizal where Aling Carmen and hundreds of her townsfolk were waiting to be “rescued”.
The following day, October 3, Saturday, despite Super Typhoon Pepeng’s entry into the Philippine area of responsibility, St. Augustine Colleges of Nursing East Rizal and Las Piñas, in cooperation with GMA 7, still managed to care for 385 patients of Brgy San Juan, Cainta, Rizal.
Even Sunday was not considered a rest day by AMA as the Makati campus healthcare team trooped to the H. Bautista Elementary School in Marikina to hold a joint medical mission with ABS-CBN’s Salamat Dok! serving almost 100 families. At the same time, St. Augustine School of Nursing Calamba and Lipa, AMA Computer College Sta Cruz and GMA 7 drove for three hours all the way to Paete, Laguna to see about 500 patients.
Back in Barangay Mapandan, Cainta, Rizal, “Salamat po”, was all that Aling Carmen could say. But her gentle touch on the doctor’s forearm, the tone of her voice and the look in her eyes said it all.
Heaven forbid, but there may still be calamities in the future that may continuously try to break down the Filipinos’ resolve and test their faith. But with God’s loving grace, the Filipinos’ innate tenacity, and with benevolent institutions such as the AMA Education System, the Filipino would, definitely, be able to overcome a hundred more Ondoys.