Press Release
April 6, 2018


Senator Sonny Angara has stressed that every major Philippine tourist destination should have improved emergency medical services to ensure the safety of both tourists and residents especially during summer break and other peak seasons.

Angara is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1573 that mandates the development and institutionalization of emergency medical services system in the country.

"We should address the complaints of many visitors that medical services in tourist spots are mere first-aid stations unable to handle grave cases. Under our proposed measure, all local government units will be mandated to establish emergency dispatch centers with adequate and qualified personnel," he said.

Last week, journalist Karen Davila posted about her family's traumatic experience in Siargao Island where her son got injured in a surfing incident.

Davila said her son's surfing instructor suddenly disappeared after the incident, and that it took them almost an hour to seek medical help within the vicinity.

Angara, former three-term congressman of the lone district of Aurora province, cited Baler's municipal ordinance that requires all resorts to have lifeguards and physicians.

Baler, which attracted more than 1.2 million tourists last year, likewise enforces Oplan SumVac 2018 which ensures that there are sufficient police officers and medics who are ready to respond in any emergency situation.

"Huwag na nating hintayin na dumami pa ang bilang ng mga outing na nauuwi sa disgrasya bago tayo umaksyon. In order to sustain the tourism boom, the local government should be prepared for the influx of visitors and ensure that they have a fun and safe vacation," Angara said.

The senator further noted that Boracay's six-month forced closure for rehabilitation must include the improvement of hospital facilities and medical services in the island.

He added that better emergency medical services should be also made available in popular tourist magnets such as Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, and in the northern region.

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