Gov’t to hire 1,500 for COVID-19 swabbing, says Roque

Published May 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Genalyn Kabiling

Around 1,500 people will be needed to serve at the mega swabbing facilities built to boost the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

The government is willing to compensate the additional workforce who will assist in these temporary medical facilities, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“We need 1,500 po dito sa mga mega swabbing facilities na ito at ito po ay para sa mga swabbers, encoders and barcoders. Lahat naman po sila ay susuwelduhan ng ating gobyerno kasama po ang hazard pay (We need 1,5000 for these mega swabbing facilities. They will serve as swabbers, encoders and barcoders. The government will pay for their salary including hazard pay),” he said in a virtual press briefing Thursday.

“Iyong mga volunteers, mayroon din po silang bayad at kung gusto nilang bumalik sa kanilang regular na trabaho, hahanap po tayo ng mga panibagong volunteers (The volunteers will also be paid. If they want to return to their regular jobs, we will find a new set of volunteers),” he added.

The government earlier launched the country’s first mega swabbing facility located at Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard to augment the government’s efforts to test, isolate and treat patients.

The three other swabbing centers, namely Enderun Tent in Taguig City, Mall of Asia Arena Center in Pasay City, and the Philippine Arena complex in Bulacan, are expected to open in the coming days. These four mega swabbing facilities, which will initially prioritize returning overseas Filipinos, are expected to carry out 5,000 tests a day.

Roque said the National Children’s Hospital has been designated to accommodate pregnant overseas Filipino workers who have retuned to the country. “Lima na pong mga na-quarantine na OFW ang nanganak, iyong isa po ang pangalan ay Covid Bryant (Five quarantined OFWs have given birth. One named her child Covid Bryant),” he said.

Malacañang recently directed Cabinet members to each submit a list of at least 100 personnel who will be assigned as encoders or barcoders in these centers.

The memorandum addressed to the Cabinet members was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last May 5. A copy of the document was obtained by the Manila Bulletin.

The Palace memo stated that the list of workers “may include personnel from the respective departments of offices, including agencies, government owned or controlled corporations and government financial institutions under your supervision.”

The government workers will be given the “necessary training, protective medical equipment, accommodation, food and transportation” to and from the mega swabbing centers. They will also be given COVID-19 hazard pay and/or special risk allowance as may applicable.

Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the government’s policy against the coronavirus, earlier requested for assistance in deploying personnel to these facilities.