AFP sends 25-man medical team to Davao City

Published November 23, 2020, 4:06 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Armed Forces of the Philippines deployed a 25-man medical contingent to Davao City Monday to augment the city government’s health system capabilities amid the rising COVID-19 infections in the city.

(Armed Forces of the Philippines FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Police Major Gen. Benedict Arevalo, AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, and National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. led the send-off ceremony at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.

The contingent is composed of five teams of military doctors, nurses, and medical aides from the AFP Health Service Command, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Air Force.

“We are tirelessly working together since the COVID-19 pandemic started. The continuous and collective efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have all yielded fruitful results as we are able to provide medical service despite the growing challenges in our society,” Arevalo said.

“This signifies that we are able to be deployed in different areas where our services and assistance are very much needed, your Armed Forces assures the people that it is our duty to help the national government and its efforts to contain the virus in the country,” he added.

Davao City has been classified as a “resticted LGU” as it imposed tighter security measures to contain the surge of COVID-19 cases. 

From 5,652 total cases Friday, Davao City registered 5,854 total cases as of Sunday, according to data from the Department of Health. Of these, 1,348 cases were active or have yet to recover.

The military’s medical contingent is being led by Major Sheryl Balmeo from the Philippine Army Medical Corps. She is the most senior officer among the members of the medical team.

Arevalo said the contingent underwent swab testing and flu vaccination prior to their flight via a C130 transport plane by the Philippine Air Force.

Upon arrival in Davao City, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) – which takes responsibility for all the military operations in Davao City – will assume the operational control of the medical team. 

The EastMinCom will also provide the billeting, security, and service support for the contingent during the duration of their deployment.

This is not the first time that the AFP mobilized its personnel to help local government units in managing the surge of infections within the communities.

Last June, the AFP  sent a medical contingent to Cebu City and Bacolod City which had been overwhelmed by the viral disease.