House approves mandatory CPR training in schools
THE Philippine Heart Association lauded the House of Representatives for the passage of House Bill 5891, otherwise known as the proposed CPR Training in Schools Act.
Proponents of the draft law however, is naming the measure as the “Samboy Lim Bill” in a bid to use the incident involving the retired basketball star to further raise awareness on the need to learn how to respond to medical emergencies, particularly on how to conduct cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
Lim – known as the Skywalker during his prime in the Philippine Basketball Association — slipped into a coma following a heart attack during an exhibition game featuring former PBA superstars in December last year. He regained consciousness in January and continues to undergo medical treatment.
Doctors have said that Lim lapsed into coma due to the prolonged lack of oxygen supply to his brain. Had CPR been administered to Lim within three minutes of his heart attack, the PBA legend could have been spared from the coma.
Pampanga Rep. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao, the main proponent of the ‘Samboy Lim Bill’ and the basketball player’s former wife, Pag-IBIG chairman Darlene Berberabe were at the PHA outreach program in Cubao, Quezon City on Sunday to further drum up support for the measure. The outreach program was organized by the PHA to mark World Heart Day.
Guiao, who is also head coach of the Rain or Shine basketball team in the PBA and a contemporary of Lim during his varsity playing days in the early 1980s, said while CPR has been identified by the American Heart Association (AHA) as the “single most effective first aid intervention” for individuals suffering from cardiac arrest, many Filipinos still do not know how it should be administered.
“There were many people in the gym when Samboy collapsed, but no one knew how to administer CPR. Had there been at least one who knows CPR, there would have been a bigger chance for Samboy to live a normal life,” Guiao told the Manila Times.
Berberabe, who is attending to Lim’s needs, said her ex-husband was health conscious and was physically fit before the incident.
“Samboy used to exercise almost everyday (but then this happened). Nonetheless, we to take care of ourselves by having a health lifestyle through proper diet and exercise,” she said in Filipino.
Once it gets enacted into law, the “Samboy Lim bill,” will include mandatory CPR training developed either by the PHA or the Philippine Red Cross in the curriculum of the K to 12 program in public and private schools, which will entitle students to learn CPR at least once before they graduate.
“I’m thankful to the Department of Education. They don’t want to legislate what has to go into the curriculum but they made an exception for this bill because they appreciate how this would benefit everybody in the long term,” he added.
Guiao said Senators Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Juan Angara expressed support for the bill which will now be reviewed by the Senate. He expects the bill to smoothly sail all the way to Malacañang for approval.
Guiao further pointed out that 24 out of the 50 states in the United States have already enacted a similar measure making CPR training mandatory in high schools and making it a prerequisite for graduation. He said neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Japan also have a similar measure.
“Be reminded that our healthy lifestyle advocacy is also for our children. Prevention while young is the best defense against cardiovascular diseases,” said cardiologist Jorge Sison, secretary of the PHA and chairman of the World Heart Day celebration.