Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, lauded the Bayanihan efforts of healthcare workers in the Visayas who expressed willingness to be deployed to Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
The initiative, spearheaded, by Go aims to help augment personnel in hospitals and other health facilities in the ‘NCR Plus’ area amid high COVID-19 cases.
Go shared that he recently asked Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino to gather health workers from the Visayas who are willing to assist in addressing the health situation in NCR plus areas.
“Magpapadala po ng nurses at iba pang medical personnel ang Visayas sa NCR Plus upang tumulong sa mga ospital na nangangailangan ng karagdagang frontliners dahil sa mabilis na pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa lugar,” Go said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. also welcomed the initiative and committed to help in processing the needs of health workers who are willing to be deployed.
“Patunay lamang po ito na sa kabila ng pandemya, malakas pa rin ang diwa ng bayanihan sa bansa. Mas mabilis natin malalampasan ang suliraning ito kung tayo mismong mga Pilipino ay magtutulungan,” Go said.
Go, through the help of OPAV, sought the assistance of the Department of Health Regional Offices, local government units, Malasakit Center hospitals, and the Project Balik Buhay (PBB) member-private hospitals to implement the initiative.
PBB is a Cebu-based private sector-led organization that aims to help the public sector cope with the challenges brought by COVID-19 in the Visayas through collaboration and cooperation of the business sectors and private hospitals.
PBB is a strategic public-private partnership for strengthened COVID-19 response in order to sync in government efforts with private sector initiatives. Members of PBB are owners of private hospitals and businesses in Cebu and the different chambers of commerce and industry. There is an open sharing of data and information in order to come up with policies and programs that best fit the evolving status of the pandemic.
Under the PBB, OPAV is in charge of deploying nurses who expressed willingness to augment critical areas. OPAV Secretary Dino said that it will take four to five days to prepare the deployment but they are already expediting the process in coordination with DOH and other concerned agencies.
The recipient hospitals will shoulder the accommodation, food, and transportation needs of the frontliners once they arrive in Metro Manila, while the OPAV or the DOH Regional Center for Health Development will shoulder their transfer from any point in the Visayas to NCR. DOH has also assured that they will be able to provide an additional 20% premium of the basic salary for emergency hiring based on Bayanihan 2 funds.
Responding affirmatively to Go’s initiative, local chief executives in the Visayas said they aim to gather more than a hundred nurses and other healthcare workers next week to augment the growing needs of hospitals in NCR plus areas.
Aside from additional human resources, the initiative also aims to deliver medical supply donations from the Visayas to Metro Manila. These include high-flow nasal cannulas, drugs such as Tocilizumab and Remdesivir, other COVID life-saving medicines, among others.
Secretary Dino also said that Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City has already expressed willingness to provide COVID life-saving medicines. On the other hand, OPAV, with the help of DOH Region VII, is also set to launch a convalescent plasma blood drive to address the growing needs in the NCR.
Go, then, repeated his appeal to all Filipinos to intensify their ‘bayanihan’ spirit, cooperate with authorities, and show compassion to each other in order to help in the efforts to overcome the ongoing crisis.
“Magtinabangay kitang tanan. (Magtulungan tayong lahat.) Ang ating pagiging mga responsableng mamamayan na nagmamalasakit sa kapwa at nakikisama sa bayanihan ay ang susi sa ating mabilis na pag-ahon sa krisis,” he said.
“Patuloy tayong magtulungan at magbayanihan para hindi bumagsak ang ating healthcare system. Pag-amping pirme, (Mag-ingat palagi,)” he ended.