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CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur-A total of 130 bags of blood from Bicol were transported to Philippine Blood Center in Manila to aid the supply of blood in different hospitals and other health facilities in CALABARZON, Monday, January 27.

 Said blood bags were sourced out from the bloodletting activity of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) in partnership with Bicol Medical Center (BMC) last January 22 where 112 bags were collected from successful blood donors, mostly military personnel and ROTC students.

 The additional 18 bags were pulled out from 9ID's blood bank account in the BMC's Blood Bank and Transfusion Services.

 According to Dr. Raymundo B. Ibarrientos, FPSP, Head of the hospital's Blood Bank and Transfusion Service, they received a call from the Philippine Blood Center asking for assistance to support the blood supply in Region IV-A which is severely affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.

 "Nangangailangan na daw po ng tulong ang CALABARZON kasi marami na raw ospital at facility ng gobyerno na hindi ngayon makapag-operate para sa dugo [blood services]," Dr. Ibarientos added.

 It was learned that BMC supplies blood to different health facilities in Bicol and to make sure that their stock will remain enough for the patients in the region, they decided to conduct a blood donation campaign.

 "Nagmamadali po tayo at kulang sa oras. Ang pinakauna po naming naisip na source ng dugo ay ang Philippine Army," Dr. Ibarientos narrated.

 Dr. Ibarientos emphasized that they are very grateful for the immediate response of the Philippine Army with their request for a voluntary blood donation campaign.

 He said that it is hard to gather more than a hundred of blood bags in one-day blood-letting event but with the help of all the voluntary donors, their goal was achieved.

 Aside from the blood supply, BMC also coordinated with 9ID and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) for the transportation of the blood units.

 "Nung una, by land yong aming plano pero nung pumasok ang Philippine Air Force na nag volunteer na sila ang maghahatid ng dugo, so, immediately we coordinated with Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force para i-transport and natuwa naman kami kasi immediately yong response nila pagdating doon sa request ay granted kaagad," Mario Cecilio Chavez, Blood Program Coordinator of BMC's National Voluntary Blood Services Program, emphasized.

 He said that these consolidated efforts will greatly help the region especially that they cannot organize blood donation campaigns because of the effect of the eruption.

 "Yong consolidated efforts ng lahat ng agency, 'yon ang pinakaimportante na maideliver natin yong pangangailangan ng dugo sa mga pasyente," Chavez added.

 At 10AM yesterday, the blood units were loaded to the PAF's rescue helicopter together with the two nurses from the BMC who endorsed it to the PBC at the Villamor Airbase.

 The PBC will now distribute the blood units to the hospitals to cope up with their needs.

 The blood units are whole blood and can be used by patients who gave birth or those who suffered serious physical injuries.

 Furthermore, 9ID under MGEN FERNANDO T TRINIDAD AFP is more than grateful to be able to extend help to those in need.

 Gen. Trinidad underscored that it is during this time that we need to be more intentional in fostering unity and give importance to the true meaning of "bayanihan."