December 11 wasn’t a day like any other day. It’s a beautiful day, the sun was up, there were busy people on the streets, and there were two special occasions to happen later that day. The SEA Games 2019 Closing Ceremony and the biggest concert of the year, the U2 Joshua Tree Tour Live in Manila – a 40 years in the making. Both events happened in the north.

But on that day, heavy traffic rampaged on the streets with a lot of names. Commute from Manila to Makati took me 4 hours to get to an event in Ayala Triangle and another one hour to get to Poblacion. One word. Horrible. If you’re weak, you could experience vertigo on the road.

I had an invitation to watch U2, that evening and I was planning that after the two events in the metro I could jump right away and fly as fast as I can to the Philippine Arena.

Even though I had that desire, it was far from possible. It wasn’t bad at all.

As the evening drew closer, I already heard traffic jam stories of fans on the way to Bulacan to watch U2. Much later in the evening, another friend who came from the city said he was only a few meters away from the venue but the gates to the arena already clogged. It was at 10pm. They were stuck in that moment of seeing U2 as they heard the band already performing on stage. Yes, all they want is U2!

To cut this short, it was worth all the fans’ efforts and once-in-a-lifetime waiting because they had a blast watching U2 for the very first time in the Philippines. It was like on new year’s day discotheque!

Fomo or mofo, was I disappointed not having enough time to squeeze to watch U2’s unforgettable fire live? To be honest, I was. But I know, time wasn’t on my side that day and it’s out of my control.

Breathe

Fortunately, a day before the concert I was able to see Bono in person and as close as I can during his press conference at the Philippine Red Cross headquarters to announce Zipline.

Seeing Bono that close, I knew I did find what I was looking for. Fate works in a mysterious ways, indeed.

Bono, lead singer and frontman for the band U2, and the Philippine Red Cross haa joined together to announce a technological beeakthrough in medicine.

U2 and their crew touched the ground of the international airport late cold evening before the day of the press conference.

Paul David Hewson, (Bono’s real name) is one of the investor of Zipline, a medical-drone delivery company that helps get medical supplies in the rural areas in Ghana, Rwanda, and elsewhere. It is a sweetest thing Bono is doing and he wants to share this to our country.

Bono, together with Sen. Richard Gordon, Chairman, Philippine Red Cross; US Ambassador Sung Kim; and Keller Rinaudo, co-founder Zipline, met by with the press in a very exclusive press conference announcing their plans to began making on-demand and emergency blood deliveries by drone across the country through Zipline, the world’s first and only national scale drone delivery service.

This project is the first in the country and will be the largest drone delivery operation in the Asia-Pacific region that will fly on top of every breaking waves.

It wasn’t Sunday and we’re talking about blood on Tuesday.

Starting with blood from the Philippine Red Cross, and expanding to include over 150 critical and life-saving medical products, the revolutionary new service will use a network of autonomous drones to make on-demand emergency deliveries. The service, which is expected to launch in the summer of 2020, is capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With or without you, Zipline plans to establish three distribution centers, which will be collectively capable of making hundreds of deliveries per day to thousands of health facilities serving millions of people across the country. Future distribution centers will potentially help the partnership expand service to eastern Visayas and Mindanao, out of the city’s blinding lights.

“Geography and Mother Nature can get in the way of our work in reaching the most vulnerable, making it difficult for them to get access to blood and vital medicines,” said Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. “We’re no longer going to hope that those that need help have to make their way to the Red Cross in a medical emergency. We are excited to bring the newest technology in fulfilling our mission. The Philippine Red Cross will soon be able to reach patients at hospitals across the country on-demand and within minutes. We’re going to use drones to bring you the life-saving blood you need right away. This new technology could help us save thousands of lives. And we’re honored to partner with Zipline to help make it possible. The PRC stands committed to being the lifeline of the people – of being always first, always ready and always there.”

“Millions of people in the Philippines can’t access the vital medical products they need because of last-mile transportation challenges,” said Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo. “Zipline’s instant drone delivery service was designed to help solve that problem. We’re honored to partner with The Philippine Red Cross to make sure that patients across the country can access the blood they need to stay alive no matter where they are and no matter the circumstances.”

In addition to the Red Cross, Zipline will be working to expand its partnerships in the Philippines to include both government and private health care facilities as well as the pharmaceutical industry to help expand universal health care access for millions of Filipinos. That’s the spirit. We have to carry each other as one. I will follow.

How The Service Works

Zipline is dedicated to expanding universal health coverage by providing on-demand instant delivery by drone of more than 150 critical and life-saving medical products, including blood and vaccines.

Health workers place orders by text message and receive their deliveries in 30 minutes on average. The drones both take off from and land elevation at Zipline’s distribution centers, requiring no additional infrastructure at the clinics they serve. Magnificent!

The drones fly autonomously staring at the sun and ultra-violet bullet blue sky and can carry 1.8 kilos of cargo, flying up to 145 kilometers an hour, and have a round trip range of 160 kilometers in high winds and rain. Each Zipline distribution center can deliver to an area of more than 20,000 square miles serving populations of up to 12 million people. Deliveries are made from the sky, with the drone descending to a safe height above the ground and releasing a box of medicine by parachute to a designated spot at the health centers it serves.

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