Public support for NAP vs virus sought

Published August 8, 2020, 3:51 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The public has been encouraged to support the government’s National Action Plan (NAP) to successfully combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The appeal was made by Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19,  as he said that the government acknowledges the need to continually recalibrate its response to the pandemic. 

Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The plan is the product of a ‘listening government,’ which takes into careful consideration the recommendations coming from all sectors of society,” he said. “We, therefore, call on everyone to support it. This will ensure our health, safety, and future, as we recover and heal as one nation,” he added.

The chief implementer’s remarks came after medical frontliners from various organizations appealed to President Duterte for a two-week “timeout” and Mega Manila be placed under the strictest enhanced communuty quarantine (ECQ) to contain the quick spread of the virus.

The medical frontliners also urged the government to recalibrate its response to the pandemic to effectively address the issues coming up such as the lack of hospital beds, personal protective equipment (PPEs), and health care workers attending to the patients.

Torn between heeding the call of the medical community and keeping the economy alive by allowing more activities, Duterte sought a middle ground and placed Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite under a modified ECQ (MECQ), a quarantine status between ECQ and the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ), from Aug. 4 to 18.

In response to the frontliners’ appeal for a recalibrated strategy, Galvez said that the NAP, which is now on its second phase, is designed to implement “rolling” crisis management plans, which means that strategies are continuously changing and evolving to adapt to changes.

Galvez said the government will continue to focus on scaling up the nation’s health care capacity by establishing more intensive care units (ICU) and isolation beds, testing laboratories, referral hospitals, swabbing centers, and quarantine facilities throughout the country. “We shall also ensure that our health frontliners in the government and private sector are protected and are able to receive all the benefits and support they need, as we establish the conditions where people can safely go to work and businesses can resume their operations,” he said.

At least 10,000 healthcare workers will also be hired to ensure that doctors and nurses “are rested, motivated, and rejuvenated to face this long-drawn battle against COVID-19,” Galvez stated.

The chief implementer stressed the importance of strict observation of minimum health standards such as practicing social distancing, wearing of masks and face shields, and having a good personal hygiene.

“I am appealing for your understanding, patience, and call of duty to protect yourselves from the pandemic.”