MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged all sectors in the country to unite and help in government efforts to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the appeal as he cited measures implemented by the government to slow down the virus transmission and shrugged off criticism over the Duterte administration’s handling of the public health crisis.
In a statement, Roque said the government has intensified testing, tracing, isolation, treatment, and vaccination efforts to address the COVID-19 spike.
Citing global data, the Palace official said that the Philippines ranks third after India and China in terms of tests per million population, while in terms of total tests conducted, the Philippines is second after Indonesia among ASEAN countries, with more than 10, 421,636 tests conducted, as of April 5, 2021.
“We have a weekly average of 52,565 tests from April 4-10, and reaching a high of 63,839 tests conducted last April 8, 2021,” Roque added.
On tracing, Roque said the government has strengthened and improved the use of Staysafe.ph system by using automatic contact tracing through Smart Messaging System and the supplementation of around 27,672 contact tracers in the NCR Plus.
The NCR Plus refers to the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. The area was previously placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 due to a surge in coronavirus infections and later reverted to modified ECQ until April 30.
Malacañang also said that the government built more facilities to augment the need for quarantine centers.
“On isolation, the Department of Public Works and Highways continue to build facilities and mobile hospitals to augment the need for quarantine facilities, including the activation of more than 1,700 beds, including the recently opened 110-bed capacity modular hospital in Quezon Institute and 300-bed capacity Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility in The Manila Times College of Subic, Inc.,” he said.
Efforts are also being made to accommodate and better serve patients with COVID-19, Roque said.
“On treatment, we have set up a One Hospital Command to better serve patients in need of hospitalization. Medical facilities have likewise given to increase its dedicated beds COVID-19 after the President directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to settle its obligation with hospitals while mainstreaming telemedicine in local government units,” he said.
“A total of 136 healthcare workers from the Visayas and Mindanao have been deployed to different facilities in Metro Manila,” he added.
Roque also pointed out that the Philippines is the third highest in vaccine rollout in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with 1.2 million doses administered.
“On vaccination, we have reached the one million mark in terms of total COVID-19 vaccines administered,” he said.
Roque reminded critics that the spike in COVID-19 cases is not only happening in the Philippines but in other countries as well.
“Critics and the detractors of the Administration have always something to say. It is worth mentioning that the increase in the number of cases is seen not only in the Philippines, but it is reflected worldwide as per World Health Organization Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe,” he said.
He, however, acknowledged that much more can be done to ramp up efforts to respond to the prevailing public health crisis.
“We call on all sectors to unite and help the government in putting an end to this dreadful pandemic,” he said.