SM, BDO foundations turnover health facility to Benguet town

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The SM and Banco de Oro (BDO) foundations turnover to the municipal government the newly renovated rural health facility in Poblacion here to contribute in improving and enhancing the delivery of basic health services to the people of the locality.

Coney Angeles, SM Foundation Executive Director, said the newly renovated and fully furnished local health facility is the 8th joint project of both foundations in order to support the health unit to become one of the major health facilities in the capital town for the benefit of the greater majority of the public.

The newly refurbished La Trinidad rural health unit is the 102nd health facility in the country that has been given the adequate attention and support by SM Foundation and which facilities were named Felicidad Sy wellness center in recognition of the wife of Henry Sy, the owner of the country’s giant chain of malls. The 102 health facilities are composed of hospitals, rural health centers and elderly centers that are described as wellness centers.

Angeles said their program to improve health facilities nationwide is their contribution to help decongest private and public hospitals from patients which could be given immediate medical attention by the improved condition of rural health centers, especially in remote communities needing such interventions to be provided.

“SM and BDO foundations want to contribute in improving the delivery of health care services to the people, especially those from the countryside. We want our rural health centers to be able to provide the first line of treatment to our fellow Filipinos seeking medical asstance instead of seeking medical treatment in hospitals,” Angeles stressed.

The original structure, which was called the La Trinidad Dispensary, was located at Poblacion, La Trinidad, Benguet. Benguet was formerly a sub-province of Mt. Province until June 18, 1966, with the enactment of RA 4695, creating the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao.

During World War II, in April of 1941, the La Trinidad Dispensary was shelled by Japanese Bomber planes, causing extensive damage. To maintain medical services to the people, the clinic was transferred to the Pawid Residence at Betag, La Trinidad.

After the war, efforts to rebuild the original building at Poblacion were initiated. It was then named the Rural Health Unit (RHU).

In July 16, 1990, the RHU was devastated by an earthquake that rocked the whole of Luzon. RHU services continued at temporary tents installed at the Provincial Capitol grounds. Soon, reconstruction was promptly undertaken in 1991. Due to the need to further renovate the building, the clinic was temporarily transferred to the La Trinidad Central School (Home Economics Building) at Poblacion, La Trinidad.

“The upgrading of La Trinidad’s rural health facility is part of SM Foundation and BDO’s corporate social responsibility, especially in the upliftment of the delivery of basic services to the people in the locality that forms part of our service area,” Angeles stressed.

The 250-square health facility also serves as the home for the municipal health services office of the capital town that is composed of 16 barangays and the gateway to the different parts of the Cordillera.

The facility, which caters to the health requirements of 128,550 inhabitants living in some 21,425 houses, is also accredited by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation for services such as out-patient benefit packages.

She described the newly renovated health facility as having a laboratory, dental room, treatment area, consultation area, Family planning room, prenatal/postnatal room, immunization area, cold chain storage area, an FTS Wellness Center for Children and the Elderly as well as an animal bite room.

Mayor Edna C. Tabanda expressed the local government’s gratitude to SM Foundation and Banco de Oro officials for selecting their rural health unit as one of the beneficiaries of their corporate social responsibility projects considering that health is one of the flagship projects of the locality which must be enhanced as it contributes in sustaining the productivity of the people.

“It’s a blessing for our municipality to have SM and BDO Foundations rehabilitate and equip our rural health unit. We are elated that our municipality is a recipient of key interventions of SM and BDO Foundations CSR projects that primarily caters to the upliftment of the delivery of basic services such as health,” Tabanda stressed.

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