US gives COVID-19 vaccine cold storage units, ICU beds to Palawan

Intensive care unit (ICU) beds and vaccine cold storage units were donated by the United States (US) to Palawan to help in the province's response against the coronavirus pandemic.

TIMELY AID-- The US Indo-Pacific Command has donated intensive care unit (ICU) beds and vaccine cold storage units to Palawan as a response to the province's request for help in its COVID-19 response. (Photo courtesy of the US Embassy in the Philippines)

The donation, which was provided by the US Indo-Pacific Command, was delivered by men from the US military service in Palawan on Oct. 19, the US Embassy in the Philippines said Wednesday, Oct. 20.

It was transported by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) onboard the BRP Gabriela Silang from Manila to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

"The ICU beds will provide additional capacity to Palawan’s COVID-19 care facilities while the vaccine cold storage units will serve as a critical element in transporting and storing COVID-19 vaccines in support of the Philippines’ ongoing vaccination efforts," the embassy said in a statement.

According to the US Embassy, the donation was conducted at the request of the Palawan provincial government in response to an ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the local area.

“For over a year, the provincial government of Palawan has been making efforts to strengthen our healthcare capacity to fight against COVID-19,” said Director Jeremias Alili, of the Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office.

“This donation will help the people of Palawan a lot by upgrading our ability to fight against the pandemic. It comes at the perfect time due to the surge of new cases and will help us face this new challenge,” Alili added.

The medical equipment amounting to P758,750 ($15,175) is part of a larger donation that provides ICU beds, essential protective equipment, and vaccine cold storage units to the Department of Health (DOH) for rapid distribution to support medical facilities in COVID-19 high-risk areas across the country.

To date, the United States has provided more than P1.9 billion ($39 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.

The Philippines is the United States’ oldest treaty ally in Asia, and this joint U.S.-Philippine partnership builds on decades of bilateral military cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster response, counterterrorism, maritime security, and many other fields.