Tulfo hailed for years of humanitarian work
I read the news report on the “Gawad Kalinga exec cited for quick ‘Yolanda’ response” (Inquirer, 12/4/13) Indeed, volunteerism should be encouraged among the citizenry for it to become part of our culture.
The award given to the GK doctor in Leyte reminded me of the disaster relief operations that Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo has been doing for the past years. After Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” Tulfo led the first nongovernment medical mission to Tacloban from Manila with doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital. They arrived there on Nov. 15, three days after the typhoon struck Leyte.
When CNN’s Anderson Cooper visited a clinic operating near the control tower inside the Tacloban airport, the world-famous journalist thought that it was a government facility. Actually, it was the medical mission Tulfo organized. The lady-doctor interviewed by Cooper for CNN was not a government doctor from the Department of Health or the local government of Tacloban. She was from the medical team that Tulfo brought in from St. Luke’s Hospital.
Tulfo returned to Leyte in late November and visited the towns of Palo, Tanauan and San Miguel, with his medical of 37 doctors from St. Luke’s Hospital and Chinese General Hospital. In his Nov. 30 column (“Epidemic might break out in Tacloban”), Tulfo wrote about the continuing dire situation of unrecovered dead bodies still under rubble and debris, and the impending epidemic in Tacloban and nearby towns.
In response to the earthquake in Bohol (and Cebu) in mid-October, Tulfo led three medical missions with volunteer doctors from the same St. Luke’s Hospital and Chinese General Hospital. There was also mass feeding where food was cooked by his staff in his public-service show Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo. The same was done in his second medical mission in Leyte.
I am familiar of the above because I have known Tulfo for the past 30 years. Like many others, my family and I have been supportive of his humanitarian work. As Tulfo once said to me: “This is what I live for!”
If there is one person and group who has done so much to help fellow Filipinos, including the marginalized tribes of the Aetas in Zambales and the Mangyans in Mindoro, it is Ramon Tulfo and his Good Samaritan Foundation, together with his Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo staff. Their work should be duly recognized and appreciated by Filipinos and foreigners alike. Mabuhay!
—R. B. RAMOS,
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