The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Makati Medical Center (MMC) Foundation launched recently the Hospital-in-a-Bike project, which seeks to boost tourist safety in three tourist sites in Metro Manila.
The Emergency Response (ER) bikes will be deployed in the areas of Intramuros, Luneta Park, and Paco Park—which was recently designated as a National Cultural Treasure on its 200th year anniversary. In celebration of MMC Hospital’s 53rd anniversary, these ER Bikes were also donated by The MMC Wellness Center and the Embassy of Israel in the Philippines.
Two of the sites namely Luneta Park and Paco Park are being managed by the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), while Intramuros is being overseen by the Intramuros Administration (IA). Both NPDC and IA are attached agencies of the DOT. The bikes, which are designed for cycle responders, were developed using custom-built mountain bikes fitted with appropriate lights and sirens. The bikes are lightweight and include a strengthened back wheel and stronger spokes, water bottles, and pannier bags which contain assorted medical supplies and equipment for first responders.
Spearheaded by the MMC Foundation, the Hospital-in-a-Bike Project aims to distribute a total of 100 ER bikes among public sector partners around the Philippines and will be pre-positioned in chosen strategic pilot areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat shared her satisfaction with the latest development, citing its positive impact in promoting safe tourism in the three sites.
In her speech at the turnover ceremony held at the Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Puyat thanked the MMC and PLDT-Smart for their relentless support of the DOT’s initiatives, particularly in medical and wellness tourism.
“I hope the partnership of the DOT with PLDT-Smart and Makati Med will continue. They have installed free internet in Intramuros, upgraded the Ciriaco Tirol Hospital in Boracay, helped in vaccinating tourism workers in Siargao, and provided health security during the Philippines’ hosting of the WTTC Summit, where our delegates experienced world-class healthcare and hospitality. Together, we showed that when the government and private sector work together, great things can happen,” Puyat quipped during the turnover ceremony.
Present during the turnover were officials of MMC and PLDT-Smart led by Marge M. Barro, Executive Director of MMC Foundation, and Esther O. Santos, President of PLDT-Smart Foundation. Key officials of the DOT, including Intramuros Administrator Atty. Guiller B. Asido, Medical and Wellness Tourism Director Dr. Paulo Benito S. Tugbang, NPDC Deputy Executive Director Jezreel Gaius A. Apelar, among others, also joined the tourism chief in the activity.
Early in 2020, Puyat partnered with PLDT-Smart in providing emergency satellite (SAT) phones to regional tourism offices. Likewise, the existing partnership of the DOT and MMC Foundation ensured the necessary upgrade of the Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital on Boracay Island.