Capitol, Bogo City grateful for Israel

IMG_6484With their relation already acknowledged as historical, the Israeli Government’s aid to the typhoon-ravaged northern Cebu has ushered in a deeper weave of friendship and collaboration for the future.

This as Governor Hilario P. Davide III and Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. both said that they will be forever grateful to the State of Israel for their field hospital and civil works assistance.

Menashe Bar On, Philippine Ambassador to the Philippines, likewise said, “This initiative has strengthened the relationship between the Israeli and Cebu government, and established roots for further long term cooperation…”

“We are eternally grateful to you and will never forget what you’ve done here in Cebu,” answered Davide in a short ceremony last Tuesday, November 19 at the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital grounds.

Martinez added, “No words could express our thanks to you for coming here and I hope that this cooperation will forever be remembered by the people of the city of Bogo.”

Aside from sending 150 members of Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli Government also donated $500,000 worth of medicines to the provincial government on Tuesday.

The ambassador said they “cannot stand aside when our friends in the Philippines are going through such a devastating situation.”

He added that he would direct all their efforts to help the Philippines recover from the tragedy and continue to push for mutual aid and development programs between the countries in the years to come.

He said the Israelis are giving back the favor to the country for what they have done several decades ago when then President Manuel L. Quezon welcomed in the Philippine shore, their countrymen, who fled from a genocide commonly known as Holocaust.

Also, the Philippines was the only Asian state, that voted for the partition of Palestine, which gave birth to the Jewish nation in 1948.

Davide said the medicines they have received from the Jewish state would be distributed among the provincial and district hospitals under the Capitol’s wing.

The Israeli’s field hospital, which was set up side by side with the Severo Verallo Memorial Hospital since last week, is fully equipped with medicines and equipment.

With around 120 medical doctors, nurses, and paramedics; it can give 17 major surgeries and dozens of minor surgeries including orthopedic operations, amputation of limbs and lip surgery.

Local volunteers also worked as interpreters to the native patients, who mostly suffered wounds from nails and debris when their homes were wrecked by the strong winds of super typhoon Yolanda.

Dr. Dov Abukrek, head of Pediatric Department, said they are accepting patients even if their illness is not related to the typhoon that hit northern Cebu last November 8.
The medical team also helped in giving birth to several babies; one of them was even called Israel.

The field hospital attended 2,000 to 2,500 patients per day not only from Bogo but from other parts in northern Cebu as well, like San Remigio, Medellin and Daanbantayan.

The IDF personnel are also engaged in civil works. The Israeli forces brought 20 water purifier equipment used in producing potable water in the city. They were also tasked to repair classrooms in the city.

The Israeli officials were welcomed like heroes by the pupils and teachers when they made a round at Bogo City Central Elementary School last Tuesday together with the local media.

According to Nevida Abellana, principal of the central school, the Israelis told her that they will try to fix all damage classrooms in their school, which has 41 classrooms and offices. About 90 to 95 percent of which were damaged.

Renato Verallo, principal of Siocon Elementary School was also happy when they learned that the Israelis are going to repair four classrooms and an office in their school.

He said they really could not repair the damage of the school immediately using their meager resources. Xerxes Alkuino