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Bottled water donations given when hospital stopped providing it

By Emmanuel T. Erediano Rota, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 2, 2012) – Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas dialysis patients on Rota who no longer get free meals and drinking water from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. were provided yesterday with 200 bottles of drinking water by the Rota Resort Hotel management.

Sen. Juan M. Ayuyu, Ind.-Rota, also delivered 10 cases of bottled water to the patients at the guesthouse on Navy Hill.

The families of the dialysis patients from Tinian and Rota also went to guesthouse to make sure their loved ones would not skip lunch and dinner yesterday.

Ayuyu in an interview said he was touched by the kindhearted people who responded right away upon learning of the patients’ dire situation.

On behalf of his ailing constituents, he thanked the owners of Rota Resort Hotel for such its generous help.

Tinian dialysis patient Edward Pangelinan, who has been staying at the guesthouse for two years now, said he is not too worried because his pension as a retiree allows him to buy his own food.

But he said other patients, especially those from Rota, depend on the free lunch and dinner from the hospital cafeteria.

Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Juan N. Babauta issued a Jan. 27 memorandum ending this free service. The patients and the senators said they received a copy of the memo on Jan. 31, or a day before it took effect.

Asked for comment, Lt. Gov. Eloy S. Inos said: "The only thing I can say is that it’s a radical move and the patients were not given ample time."

But Inos said the hospital is also trying to cut costs.

However, he added, the corporation could have implemented its new policy gradually to allow the leaders of Tinian and Rota to help the patients.

"These are sick people. I just thought that maybe the move was a bit hasty," he said.

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