(Screengrab from pre-SONA forum)

MANILA – Over 92,000 overseas Filipinos who returned to the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic are now back in their provinces, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday.

“As of July 18, a total of 92,530 overseas Filipinos have returned to their provinces,” said Lorenzana, head of the Security, Justice and Peace Cluster at a pre-SONA forum.

He said the Department of Foreign Affairs has implemented massive efforts to bring home displaced and stranded Filipinos abroad due to the pandemic while those who severely affected were provided with financial and legal assistance.

Meanwhile, he said the government continues to ramp up response efforts to the health crisis.

“As of July 16, we have 87 testing laboratories and our daily testing capacity has exceeded 50,000,” said Lorenzana, who is also chair of the National Task Force on Covid-19.

He added that the country has “15 Mega Covid treatment and monitoring facilities” and more than 7,000 local isolation and general treatment facilities nationwide.

“We have also distributed close to 2 million personal protective equipment (PPE) sets and thousands of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing kits to various hospitals and front-liners,” he added.

Lorenzana said these efforts are anchored on the Test, Treat, and Trace Management System which is focused on “prevention, detection, isolation, treatment and reintegration and eventual adaption to the new normal”.

He, meanwhile, said that assets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have transported 2 million pounds of medical supplies and essential cargo locally and abroad.

“The Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard have assisted in transporting arriving overseas Filipinos and locally stranded individuals to their respective provinces,” he added.

The Philippine Army, meanwhile, provided free rides in Metro Manila. (PNA)

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