Former female tough cop advocates health service for the poor as sweepstakes GM

Published October 17, 2019, 10:04 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Aaron Recuenco

Remember Police Col. Royina Garma?

She was the symbol of defiance in the police conflict with a scion of a political clan in Cebu and was also at the forefront of illegal drugs campaign in Cebu City.

PCSO general manager Royina Garma (Screenshot / PCSO / Facebook live / MANILA BULLETIN)
PCSO general manager Royina Garma (Screenshot / PCSO / Facebook live / MANILA BULLETIN)

But now, Garma suddenly found herself advocating for efficient health service as she led her donation of 45 advanced life support ambulance units for various hospitals in Metro Manila.

In a ceremony for the turnover of the ambulance at Camp Crame in Quezon City, Garma, now the General Manager of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), said it is the poor Metro Manila residents who will be the priority of the new ambulances.

“The PCSO has always been a firm advocate of efficient health services to the Filipino people, especially those who have little resources to spend for their medical and health care. We will never waver from this commitment as we reaffirm our dedication in providing free but quality assistance to the public,” said Garma.

Garma said the Medical Transport Vehicle Donation Program is one of the key programs of the PCSO which seeks to equip local government units, government hospitals, municipal health offices, and other health institutions and facilities all over the country with medical transport vehicles to immediately respond to the needs of patients especially from poverty-stricken areas.

“The program underscores the importance of a reliable and functional ambulance for the emergency transport of sick patients and stresses the value of quick access to health care,” she said.

The new medical transport vehicles will benefit patients from Metro Manila’s government hospitals, among them: the Amang Rodriguez Medical Center (Marikina City), Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital (Manila), East Avenue Medical Center (Quezon City), Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (Manila), National Center for Mental Health (Mandaluyong City), National Children’s Hospital (Quezon City), Philippine Orthopedic Center (Quezon City), Quirino Memorial Medical Center (Quezon City), Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (Muntinlupa City), Rizal Medical Center (Pasig City), San Lazaro Hospital (Manila), Tondo Medical Center (Manila), Lung Center of the Philippines (Quezon City), National Kidney and Transplant Institute (Quezon City), Philippine Children’s Medical Center (Quezon City), Philippine Heart Center (Quezon City), and Valenzuela Medical Center
(Valenzuela City).

Garma, it was recalled, was appointed by President Duterte as PCSO General Manager following the resignation of retired Marine general Alexander Balutan over rampant corruption in the agency.

The official also assured the PCSO’s accessibility for families and individuals who require medical and social assistance from the government.

“The PCSO is on standby 24/7 to help those who need assistance, especially indigent families who rely on their government for financial relief,” said Garma.

Present during the turnover were Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the chief directorial staff of the Philippine National Police (PNP); Brig. Gen. Eriel M. Niembra, Commander of Presidential Security Group. Both officials accepted the keys of the ambulance units on behalf of their health facilities.

Also present during the turnover ceremonies were the Department of Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-An and Dr. Larry Cedro, PCSO Assistant General Manager for Charity Sector.