MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. on Tuesday urged military personnel to remain dedicated in serving as front-liners in the battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is an enemy that requires a different form of sacrifice, commitment, and dedication. While our enemy is unseen and cannot be eliminated by anything in our armory, our greatest asset has and will always be our people. Our duty to the nation transcends all threats and we in the Armed Forces of the Philippines are capable of fulfilling our mandate to protect the people from all kinds of threats,” Santos said in a statement.
The deployment of AFP personnel in facilities tasked to contain the Covid-19 came after the military was named as one of the lead agencies in combatting the pandemic.
The AFP was tasked to provide manpower for clinical and operational support to mega temporary treatment and monitoring facilities and swabbing centers in the country.
A total of 382 military doctors, nurses, support and security personnel, and medical aides are currently deployed at facilities in World Trade Center (WTC), Ninoy Aquino Stadium (NAS), Rizal Memorial Coliseum (RMC) and Enderun Mega Swabbing Center (EMSC).
The 502-bed WTC facility located in Pasay City is being manned by Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) composed of 87 medical personnel, which consists of 18 Medical Corps officers, 30 Nurse Corps Officers, and 39 medical assistants.
In addition, six officers and seven enlisted personnel (EP) are tasked to man the Command and Administrative Section.
The Task Group WTC CARE who leads the operation, in coordination with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and external linkages with other agencies has been able to conduct admission, transfer, and discharge of 385 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Of this number, 62 OFWs came from the United Arab Emirates and 323 from the Maldives.
Meanwhile, the 112-bed NAS facility in Manila is being managed by 65 medical personnel from AFP Health Service Command.
Augmenting the EMTs are six medical service officers and seven enlisted personnel as the Command Group. The teams in NAS properly administered the admission of 132 Covid-19 positive patients.
The NAS facility also conducted swabbing to test RT-PCR of the admitted patients and forwarded the same to proper medical research authorities, as well as managed radiology services to patients.
The facility has so far treated 108 Covid-19 recovered patients.
Meanwhile, the RMC facility in Manila which has 97 beds has a unique workforce composition. It is run by 41 emergency medical technicians comprised of four medical officers; three dental officers; 11 Nurse Corps Officers; three regular ensigns from the Philippine Navy who are professional nurses; four newly recruited EP nurses from the Philippine Army; and 16 EP serving as medical assistants.
It is on its sixth day of operation and is presently catering and managing 13 Covid-19 positive patients.
Meanwhile, the EMSC in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City has a total of 54 swabbing booths that can accommodate a minimum of 900 clients in a day.
The AFP deployed 50 personnel from the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy to operate the facility with complementary manpower from the Bases Conversion Development Authority, Department of Health, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Public Works and Highways and the National Security Council.
The facility opened on May 24 with the unique mission of arranging, collecting, and transporting oral and nasopharyngeal swab specimens for Covid-19 testing. It has administered the initial swabbing of 101 patients coming from Taguig City.
“The AFP takes pride in our military doctors, nurses, medical aid, support, and security personnel who continue to operate and stand their ground in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. They remain dedicated to their duties, risking their own well-being to ensure the safety of Filipinos affected by the dreaded disease,” he said. (ia/PNA)