By Genalyn Kabiling
The government may tap soldiers, reservists, and volunteers to boost its manpower on the operations against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Palace official.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government needs “all warm bodies” to support the containment and mitigation of the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
“‘Yung pag-deploy ng (On the deployment of the) Armed Forces of the Philippines to help, obviously we need all the manpower, all the warm bodies, all the extra hands that we can get. Lahat ng resources siyempre (All resources, of course),” he said during a press conference in Malacañang.
Nograles noted that the proposed National Action Plan (NAP) for COVID-19 has been approved in principle by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the management of emerging infectious diseases. The NAP includes the proper management of human resources, logistics, and finance to sustain the operations against the coronavirus outbreak.
Nograles said they intend to review the resources needed for the operations against the coronavirus and possibly mobilize soldiers, reservists, and volunteers to fill in any gaps.
“Lahat yan tinitingnan natin. It’s really a matter of resource management. Titingnan natin ano ang resources ang kinakailangan tapos kung may gaps diyan, then we will know. o sige sa gap na ito, sino puwede ang mag-fill in. puwede ba mag fill in ang AFP dito, pwede ba mag-fill in ng reservists dito , pwede ba mag fill in ang volunteers dito (We’re looking into all of those. It’s really a matter of resource management. We will check the resources needed and if there are gaps, then we will know if we the AFP can fill in the gap, if reservists can fill, if the volunteers can fill in),” he said.
“It’s really a resource management, programming the resources and looking for ano ang resources na kailangan, saan ang gaps at filling up the gaps (for resources needed, where the gaps are and filling up the gaps),” he said.
Nograles recognized that the government must act fast in containing and stopping the spread of the coronavirus. “We have to work very fast. We have to think very fast and we have to decide very fast. Speed is key here sa laban na ito (Speed is key in this fight),” he said.
In his public address over government television Tuesday night, President Duterte announced the government’s latest “National Action Plan” to be led by the country’s defense forces to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will chair the group that will implement the NAP while Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año will serve as vice chair.
“The Department of National Defense and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, are now ramping up the implementation of the NAP, as we speak, to reinforce the efforts of the Department of Health in containing COVID-19,” he said.