800 government workers volunteer at swabbing centers

Published May 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

Close to 800 government workers have volunteered to assist in the mega swabbing centers built by the government and private sector partners to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon announced Friday.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vivencio Dizon
(PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dizon, also deputy chief implementer of the government’s response to the coronavirus, has extended his gratitude to these state workers who are expected to serve as encoders, barcoders, among others, in these temporary health facilities.

The planned deployment of government workers came after Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea directed Cabinet members to each submit a list of 100 personnel who will assist in the swabbing centers. The volunteers are expected to be given compensation, training, and transportation as the government scales up the country’s testing capacity.

“Nagpapasalamat din tayo sa ating executive branch sa pamumuno ni ES Bingbong Medialdea dahil nag-issue siya ng order na minamandato ang lahat ng mga ahensya kasama na rin ang government corporation na magcontribute dito ng kanilang mga personnel par sa ating swabbing at testing efforts. Pag vo-volunteer para maging barcodes, encoder. Para sa may medical background, mag volunteer din sila bilang swabber (We thank the executive branch led by Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea because he issued an order mandating all agencies including government corporations to contribute personnel for the swabbing and testing efforts, to volunteer as barcoders, encoders and for those with medical background, volunteer as swabbers),” Dizon said during the “Laging Handa” (Always Ready) public briefing on state-owned People’s Television network.

“Sa ngayon mahigit sa 700 na o halos 800 na ang nag-volunteer sa iba’t-ibang line agencies. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa lahat ng mga agencies at kawani ng mga agencies na ito na nag-volunteer (At present, we have more than 700 or close to 800 volunteers from different line agencies. We thank the agencies and the personnel who have volunteered),” he added.

To augment the number of frontliners, Dizon also issued an appeal to the public, particularly medical professionals and students, to offer their time and expertise to these swabbing facilities. Interested volunteers may contact the Department of Health so they can join the team.

“Nananawagan tayo muli sa ating private partners, sa tang mga schools, na may nurse at may medical related schools sana mayroon mag volunteer medical professionals, mga estudyante. May sapat na compensation ito na ibibigay ang Department of Health. Mayroon kaabay na hazard pay na nakapaloob sa ating Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (We appeal to our private partners, nursing and medical-related schools. We hope medical professionals and students will volunteer. The Department of Health will give ample compensation including hazard pay stated in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act),” he said.

“At siyempre ibibigay natin ang lahat ng protection, pag-aalaga sa ating mga frontliners na mag-vo-volunteer para sa dito (Of course we will provide all the protection and care for the frontliners who will volunteer in this effort),” he added.

Malacañang earlier announced that the government will need around 1,500 people to support the operation of the swabbing centers. The swabbing facilities, located at Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard, Enderun Tent in Taguig City, Mall of Asia Arena Center in Pasay City, and the Philippine Arena complex in Bulacan, are expected to accommodate 5,000 tests a day.

Dizon recognized the importance of testing to ensure the early detection and isolation of patients with coronavirus and minimize the risk of transmission. He noted that the government is ramping up accreditation of testing laboratories to boost the testing capacity from 12,000 a day to 30,000 by end of May.

With no coronavirus vaccine still in sight, Dizon also said the government appreciates the cooperation of the private sector in enhancing the country’s healthcare capacity.

“Habang wala tayong vaccine, kailangan labanan natin ito ng tuloy-tuloy. Hindi tayo titigil sa pag-prepare at paglaban sa virus hanggang sa panahon na makakuha tayo ng vaccine at hindi ‘yun mangyayari sa isang taon. Baka mahihintay pa tayo ng 18 buwan o hanggang dalawang taon. Kaya talaga pagtibayin natin ang partnership ng private sector at government at palakasan pa natin ang health care infrastructure sa mga darating na buwan (Until we have a vaccine, we must continue to fight. We will not stop in preparing and fighting the virus until we get the vaccine, which will not happen in one year. We may wait for 18 months or two years. We will strengthen our partnership with the private sector and continue to strengthen our health care infrastructure),” he said.

He said the country’s first mega swabbing facility at Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard has started operations Thursday. Around 250 overseas Filipino workers have been accommodated during the test run with the help of the Philippine Coast Guard.

Malacañang earlier announced that the government will need around 1,500 people to support the operation of the swabbing centers. The swabbing facilities, located at Palacio de Maynila along Roxas Boulevard, Enderun Tent in Taguig City, Mall of Asia Arena Center in Pasay City, and the Philippine Arena complex in Bulacan, are expected to accommodate 5,000 tests a day.

Dizon said they hope to increase the daily capacity of these swabbing centers in the coming days.

Last May 5, Medialdea issued a memorandum to Cabinet members to submit to the Office of the President the list of personnel who will assist in these facilities.

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

 
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