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NTF to tap medical reservists within AFP

The National Task Force (NTF) against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) announced that reservists of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who are also in the medical field will be called to active duty for a period of two years amid the continuous rise in the number of infections.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (NTF Against COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

NTF Chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the reservists will provide additional manpower to support the health care workers in the frontlines of the fight.

In a special meeting with President Duterte Sunday night, Lorenzana added that he will order the AFP Health Service Command to beef up its forces by enlisting at least 10,000 more reservists composed of doctors, nurses, medical technologists and aidmen.

This, after President Duterte instructed Lorenzana to mobilize the military reservists amid the call for distress of various medical societies for a “timeout” since health care workers are already “burned out.”

“I am asking Secretary Lorenzana to mobilize, call a mobilization of doctors and nurses, and those who can help. Kung ‘yan na lang ang maaasahan namin (If they are the only ones left who we can rely on to), I will outright call all reservists to work,” Duterte said in a special meeting with the Cabinet members and leaders of the NTF, Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) and Senator Bong Go.

Medical professionals in the Philippine National Police (PNP) were also encouraged to step up and help the government.

“Mabuti ito, Mr. President, kasi itong mga tao na ito mauutusan natin. Pwede sila mag-overtime (This is good, Mr. President, because these people are good in taking orders. They can work overtime),” Lorenzana said.

“They will be under the military’s control. Mas madaling utusan ito, Mr. President (They are easier to give orders to, Mr. President),” he added.

Duterte has once again turned to the military and police to solve a new issue raised by medical groups about the possible collapse of the health care system due to the exhaustion of workers amid record-high infections in the past week.

Last Saturday, Philippine College of Physicians President Mario Panaligan appealed to Duterte through a formal letter that Mega Manila be placed again to enhanced community quarantine as new cases  went as high as 4,000 to 5,000 the past four days. His call was backed by various medical organizations.

“Pagod na pagod na po kami, hindi lang physically but mentally as well (We are exhausted, not only physically but mentally as well),” said Philippine College of Physicians Vice President Encarnita Limpin in a separate virtual briefing.

On Sunday alone, 5,032 new cases were recorded by the Department of Health which pushed the national tally to 103,185. There were also 65,557 recoveries (+301) and 2,059 deaths (+20).

Duterte, however, explained that the country could no longer afford to go back to ECQ since the economy will suffer and people might die of hunger.

Instead, he approved the recommendation of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to revert Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from August 4 to 18.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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