MANILA – Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. has assured the Filipinos that the government is carrying out all necessary measures to address and mitigate the Covid-19 impact on the country.
Galvez was designated by President Rodrigo Duterte as the chief implementer of the Philippines’ National Action Plan (NAP) against Covid-19 based on a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on March 24.
“We are facing an unprecedented health crisis we have never seen before in our nation’s history. The Covid-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis but also an economic, social and security crisis weaved into one,” Galvez said.
“We have to be at least two or three steps ahead and carry out crucial interventions at the soonest possible time. This will enable our country to better cope with the pandemic which is sweeping across our country and the world,” he said.
National Action Plan on Covid-19
As the chief implementer, Galvez is tasked to ensure the strict compliance with and adherence of everyone to the guidelines and protocols contained in the government’s action plan against Covid-19.
The NAP on Covid-19 is the Philippine government’s strategic plan to respond to the health crisis by harnessing and integrating the whole gamut of government’s logistical network, resources, and manpower.
The crafting of NAP was made after a series of meetings between President Duterte and Cabinet officials.
The NAP is anchored on a “Whole-Of-Government” approach, which features a streamlined governance structure to facilitate the timely and efficient response to the threats posed by the virus.
Galvez said the NAP focuses on four specific lines of efforts, which include enhanced community quarantine, enhanced monitoring and response, responsive sustainment, and crisis communication.
“The first strategy is to provide clear, accurate and timely information to support the operations against the spread of Covid-19. The second strategy is to contain and prevent the further spread of the virus,” he said.
“The third is to sustain the conduct of operations against Covid-19. The fourth is we should mitigate the consequences and social, economic and security impact of Covid-19,” Galvez said.
Structure of Operations
Under the structure, it is the President that acts as the National Command Authority. Under him is the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-IED), which is composed of different Cabinet Secretaries to formulate policies.
The National Task Force (NTF) on Covid-9, chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza and Interior Government Secretary Eduardo Año as the vice-chair, will operationalize the policies of the IATF-IED.
The NTF-Covid-19 through the National Incident Command (NIC), with Galvez serving as its head, will focus on the operational and tactical implementation of the guidelines from the IATF and the daily activities of all agencies based on their functions on addressing Covid-19. It monitors, integrates and synchronizes all efforts and activities of agencies.
As the chief implementer, Galvez shall coordinate and weave the four lines of effort of the Task Groups on Response Operations, Resource Management, and Logistics, and Strategic Communications.
A 24/7 Emergency Operations Center composed of the Office of the Civil Defense and its member-agencies shall provide support to the NTF.
As the NAP on Covid-19 is anchored on a Whole-of-Nation Approach, it is not solely focused on containing the spread of the virus and implementing initiatives that will mitigate the social, economic and security impacts of the health crisis.
Galvez said the NAP’s strength emanates from its multi-pronged, multi-agency approach which includes a policy-making body and an operational arm. The policy-making body which is the Inter-Agency Task Force is composed of select Cabinet members co-chaired by the Secretary of Health and the Cabinet Secretary.
“This is a crisis which cuts across social, economic and public safety domains,” he said.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) functions as the NTF Covid-19, which is consistent with its mandate under RA 10121 of 2010 and in line with emerging challenges brought about by the health crisis. NTF Covid-19 will handle the day-to-day battle and respond to emerging situations on the ground.
“The NTF on Covid-19 shall harness the NDRRMC structure composed of governmental, non-governmental, civil society and private sector organizations, with additional support from other agencies. The NTF Covid-19 will mobilize state and private assets in order to cope and sustain its medical health care until the threat is eliminated,” Galvez said.
Galvez said he accepted the appointment by the President as this will give him “another opportunity to serve his countrymen during this time of national crisis.”
“We have seen how nations around the world are responding to the crisis. We need to learn from their best practices, and apply them in our country’s fight against the diseases,” he said.
“I am calling on my Filipinos to stand with our government. The government needs your full cooperation so we overcome this crisis. I have no doubt we shall win this battle,” he said.
Galvez, a retired four-star general, served as Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff prior to his appointment of presidential peace adviser in 2018.
As head of the Western Mindanao Command, he led government forces in the battle to free Marawi from terrorist groups which laid siege to the city in 2017. (OPAPP PR)