President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino shakes hands with Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe beside the marker of the Aurora Memorial Hospital. Witnessing the event were (from left) Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Governor Bella Angara-Castillo and Congressman Juan Edgardo M. Angara.
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino, Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Congressman Juan Edgardo M. Angara, Governor Bella Angara-Castillo and JICA Chief Representative Takahiro Sasaki led the inauguration of the Aurora Memorial Hospital on February 19, 2012 in Reserva, Baler, Aurora.
Governor Bella Angara-Castillo (standing far right) acknowledged the presence of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino (standing second from right) and Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe. The ceremony was witnessed by (seated second from left) Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and JICA Chief Representative Takahiro Sasaki (far right).
The Aurora Memorial Hospital which costs approximately 1.09 Billion Japanese Yen (approximately 509 Million Pesos) is funded under Japan's Grant Aid Program. The newly constructed hospital has a capacity of 50 beds with new medical equipment such as X-ray machine, neonatal ICU (Intensive Care Unit), elevating it into a Level-2 hospital in Baler, which is the provincial capital. The entire hospital building complex including its utilities is funded by this grant.
Shortages of medical facilities and human resources in Aurora Province are more serious than the rest of the Philippines, and as a result, its infant and maternal mortality rates in 2002 were the highest in Region III. This new hospital will help address these difficulties and improve medical services for the communities in Aurora Province, as well as support the attainment of the MDGs (Millennium Development goals). The new hospital will help the people in Aurora, particularly pregnant women and children who will be provided with better health care. It also conforms to the Department of Health's “Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (Universal Health Care)” program.
Aurora Provincial Government has a plan to upgrade this hospital to a level-4 hospital, which will qualify it as teaching and training hospital for the University of the Philippines Manila - School of Health Sciences (UPM-SHS). Thus, it will help increase the number of health professionals working and practicing in Aurora Province in the future. The Government of Japan has also assigned one Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) nurse to assist in the management and operation of the Aurora Memorial Hospital.
In his speech, Ambassador Urabe cited that “we are happy to help Aurora particularly in the health sector because uplifting health conditions improve “Human Security”. The Government of Japan believes in Human Security. Let me express my sincere wish that this hospital will be an everlasting symbol of our friendship and human security of Aurora”
The cooperation in health sector has contributed to ensure “Human Security” by uplifting the health conditions at the community level. For many decades, Japan has continuously provided unwavering support to the various health projects for enhancing the health and welfare of individuals as well as for strengthening the health system in the local areas. Japan will continue these types of support for overcoming vulnerability and strengthening of human life.
Japan is the Philippines' largest source of ODA and has been a long-time friend and partner in nationwide socio-economic development. This hospital serves as an everlasting symbol of the strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines as well as the human security of Aurora people.
Speech of Ambassor Toshinao Urabe