By Martin Sadongdong
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed on Tuesday that it has received its share in the P200 million worth of medical equipment and supplies donated for frontliners battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
General Felimon Santos Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, said the donations came from the Filipino-Chinese community, a private company, and an anonymous Chinese national whom he thanked for their generosity.
“The AFP, along with other beneficiaries like the Philippine National Police (PNP), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Bureau of Immigration (BI), public and private hospitals, and local government units expresses its heartfelt gratitude to [the] local private donors and nameless individuals who, out of sincere desire to help the country’s imperiled frontliners, (have) contributed (vital equipment) to the battle against COVID-19,” Santos stated.
“Their example, which is worthy of emulation, would surely inspire our men and women…knowing that as they perform their checkpoint duties, some people like these donors are looking after their welfare,” he added.
The donated equipment and supplies include two units of two-piece Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction System machines; four Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines; 30,000 real time PCR diagnostic kits; 25,010 medical protective suits; 292,300 face masks; 60,000 medical gloves; 5,064 goggles; 5,000 face sheilds; and 1,000 pairs of protective shoe covers.
From the bulk of items received by the military, Santos said that one unit of the two-piece Automated Nucleic Acid Extraction System machine and a PCR machine were delivered at the V. Luna General Hospital in Quezon City for installation after the completion of the structure being built by the AFP Corps of Engineers.
Santos expressed confidence that the medical equipment and supplies will greatly help the military in monitoring its personnel who have tested positive for the COVID-19, and those considered as persons under investigation (PUIs) and monitoring (PUM).
“The donor attests that all four PCR machines and all diagnostic kits have been physically inspected and assessed by th Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and are declared fully compliant with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO),” he said.
He also noted that the testing kits are “at par with the ones provided by the WHO” as assured by the donor.
The machines and goods arrived in the country on March 21 and March 28 at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City via a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 transport plane.
The donations were received by the government just as healthcare workers, hospitals, soldiers, cops and other frontliners were running out of personal protective equipment (PPEs) amid the fight to contain the COVID-19.