By Martin Sadongdong
Medical facilities outside Metro Manila will be supported by the national government in preparation for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections.
This was the assurance made by Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Presidential Peace Adviser and National Action Plan (NAP) on COVID-19 chief implementer, in a Laging Handa virtual briefing on Black Saturday.
“Mayroon akong inilalakad na P1 billion for hospitals para mabigyan ang provincial and regional hospitals na nag-aalaga sa COVID-19 patients. Tignan natin pati sa PPEs (personal protective equipment),” Galvez said.
(I am lobbying for the allotment of P1-billion to the provincial and regional hospitals caring for COVID-19 patients. We will try to [supply] them with PPEs too.)
Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander Pimentel appealed for assistance to Galvez as he said they are running out of PPEs and medical equipment to fight the coronavirus in the province.
Pimentel said Surigao del Sur remains virus-free, although there are three persons under investigation in the province (PUIs), two of whom are from the nearby province of Agusan del Sur which has already maxed out the capacity of its COVID-19 referral hospitals.
To address this, Galvez said there will be an allocation to provincial and regional hospitals from the remaining 985,000 units of PPEs out of one million procured by the government from China that are still to arrive.
He said the PPEs are expected to arrive between this week to the last week of April. The first batch of 15,000 PPEs arrived earlier this month and were distributed to Metro Manila hospitals.
“I-a-activate rin natin ang local incident command. Napakalaki ng role ng LGUs (local government units) sa tinatawag nating ‘flattening of the curve.’ Dapat sa barangay to mayor to provincial, catalysts sila. Sila ang nagsu-supervise sa different geographical areas so ang magandang gawin ay i-localize ang problema,” Galvez explained.
(We will also activate local incident commands. The LGUs play a very big role in the flattening of the curve. From the barangay to mayor to provincial leaders, they should be catalysts. They are the ones supervising the different geographical areas so the best way is to localize the problem.)
“Yung PUIs, ihiwalay na sa ating komunidad at pamilya para hindi makapanghawa. Maging mapagmatyag, tignan natin ang contact tracing para magkaroon ng isolation at mapigil ang pag-spread,” he added.
(All PUIs should be isolated from the community and their families to avoid infection. Be vigilant, let us intensify contact tracing so there could be isolation and prevention of the spread of virus.)
Meanwhile, Galvez confirmed that there are more than 600 Marawi City residents and several construction workers from Baguio and Benguet who got stranded in Manila because of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
He said he will talk to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr. to ferry them back to Mindanao and Luzon using military aircraft.
“Maraming taga-Marawi ang nasa Manila and they want to go back to Mindanao…. Mayroon din construction workers na taga-Baguio and Benguet. Tignan namin, pag-usapan namin with Chief of Staff,” he said.
(A lot of Marawi residents are in Manila and they want to go back to Mindanao. There are also construction workers from Baguio and Benguet. Let’s see, I’ll bring this up with the Chief of Staff.)
Galvez said the needs of the stranded residents were being met.
“Nakikita po namin ‘yung kanilang hinaing at nararamdaman. Ang pangangailangan nila ay itinawag ko na kay [Social Welfare and Development] Secretary [Rolando] Bautista para mabigyan sila ng ayuda, pagkain, at possible mabigyan ng amelioration,” he said.
(We recognize their predicament. I already called [Social Welfare and Development] Secretary [Rolando] Bautista to give them aid, food, and possibly amelioration.)
Galvez reminded the provincial government units of these stranded individuals to subject them to a 14-day quarantine before allowing them to return to their homes.
“Dapat maging redundant ang surveillance and tracking. Once na ang isang probinsya ay tumanggap ng galing Manila, dapat obserbahan for 14 days. We will look at the second wave dahil ang phenomenon ng ating virus, nakikita natin sa Singapore noong bumalik yung OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), nagkaroon ng second wave attack. ‘Yung transmission from entry of certain people sa certain localities dapat bantayan talaga ‘yun,” he said.
(The surveillance and tracking should be redundant. Once a province accepts individuals arriving from Manila, they should be observed for 14 days. We will look at the second wave because the phenomenon of the virus, we can see that in Singapore when the OFWs came back there, there occurred a second wave attack. The transmission from entry of certain people to certain localities should be guarded.)