The government of Australia has provided additional support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with another donation of hospital and personal protective equipment valued at P70 million (AUD 2 million), the Australian Embassy in Manila announced Friday.
This brings the total Australian assistance to the AFP COVID-19 response for military personnel and dependents to PHP 105 million (AUD 3 million).
In May 2020, Australia also supported the expansion of the Victoriano Luna Medical Center- AFP Medical Center (VLMC) infectious ward to handle COVID-19 cases with a P35 million (AUD 1 million) grant.
Australia’s new assistance has increased the capacity of AFP Health Service Command and its health service centers to deal with the spike in COVID cases in Manila and regional centers.
This package of support benefits AFP’s regional health service centers in the Central Command (Cebu), Western Command (Palawan), Eastern Mindanao Command (Davao), and Western Mindanao Command (Zamboanga City) as well as support the further expansion of the VLMC infectious disease ward.
“Through the Enhanced Defence Cooperation, Australia is providing this additional assistance to the AFP in the spirit of mateship and bayanihan,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO said in a statement.
He added that while COVID-19 may have disrupted the normal defense training and other exercises between the two countries, the continuous cooperation has demonstrated that “we can rely on the deep respect and camaraderie between our respective armed forces.”
Throughout this health crisis, Australia, he said, collaborated with the AFP to find innovative means to support the immediate and most relevant needs of the Philippine military and its defense personnel.
“They are carrying out such a challenging role during this pandemic, and as a true friend and partner, Australia stands ready to support the AFP and the AFP Health Service Command,” the Australian envoy said.