The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed gratitude to the Australian government Wednesday, Sept. 29, for its P57 million worth of donated medical equipment and supplies to support the military's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., and Colonel Edgar Cardinoza, commander of AFP Health Service Command, personally received the donations from Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson in a ceremony held at Pier 15, South Harbor in Manila on Tuesday.
"The turnover of donations from the Australian government is a clear testament of the collaborative partnership that both our respective nations and military forces continue to nurture and sustain as we aspire to work together in promoting the welfare of our people and country," Faustino said.
The initiative was made by Australia as part of the two countries' Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.
Among the donated items were high-flow oxygen machines, stretchers, defibrillators, disinfection kits, automated RNA extraction kits, viral RNA extraction kits, RT-PCR reagent and detection kits, face masks, face shields, personal protective equipment (PPE) level 3 and level 4 sets, eye protectors, and KN95 masks.
The equipment and supplies will be turned over to the AFP’s primary military hospital, the Victoriano Luna Medical Center (VLMC), to support its COVID-19 response, testing efforts, and capacity for hospitalization of minor to critical patients.
Lorenzana conveyed the DND's appreciation to Australia which he said is a "long-standing strategic partner" of the Philippines.
"The Australian Government has expanded the coverage of its Defense Cooperation Program to include the pandemic needs of Filipino soldiers, a gesture that conveys the message that we are not alone in this fight," he said.
"Certainly, these donations will ramp up the day-to-day clinical management and quality of care and service which AFP’s medical arm is expected to provide," he added.
This is the third tranche of donation from the Australian Government coursed under the mutually agreed Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program.
"Throughout this unpredictable COVID19 pandemic, I am very pleased that Australia is able to provide flexible and responsive support to the Philippines. These additional medical and personal protective equipment will be critical in VLMC’s COVID-19 testing efforts, and treatment of COVID patients," Robinson shared.