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Ako Bicol Rep. Garbin suggests emulating practices of S. Korea, Taiwan in combating COVID-19

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Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin urged the government agencies leading the charge in fighting coronavirus disease to learn from the success of South Korea, Taiwan and Macau in containing the virus.

The solon said that the executive branch has enough resources to purchase testing kits and medical equipment and suggested to put up more testing centers has he noted that regional level testing center is the “ideal” setup given the fast pace of transmission of the COVID-19.

“Build more isolation rooms and emergency purchases of respirators in anticipation of the widespread community transmission. Let us act fast. The containment and control should keep pace with the pace of transmission we are seeing now,” he said.

“The executive department has enough funds for purchases in the short-term, but to further reassure our government health workers and the entire country of the logistics, I am suggesting the authorization of an initial P250 million from funding sources the DBM would certify as available to reallocation to the purchase and production of testing kits and related supplies and equipment,” he said.

He explained that the authorization from Congress can be in the form of a joint resolution of both chambers of Congress and if the IATF deems necessary, another P250 million can be identified as standby funds with a “triggering mechanism or process for immediate availability.”

Garbin also poited out that with the exodus of Metro Manila residents and transients to the provinces, it is only a matter of time before new confirmed cases come up outside of Metro Manila.

“We understand the difficulty of getting supplies of COVID-19 testing kits from overseas and we are aware the ones the University of the Philippines developed are still being field tested,” he said.

“But health professionals in the provinces are getting anxious because with every passing day, more and more people from Metro Manila are spreading the COVID-19 wherever they go” he added.

The Ako Bicol solon also proposed to use “diplomatic connections” to source more COVID-19 kits from our friends in Europe, Australia, and Asia whose medical research systems and infrastructure are way “more advanced than our own.”

Garbin also threw his support to the DOH in seeking to arrest the surge in the number of new confirmed cases.

“We do not want to reach that point where the progression shifts to clear daily exponential growth in confirmed cases and the collapse of our hospital care systems. We seek to avoid that. But the data show we could soon have that exponential growth on a weekly or even daily basis if we do not act faster and more decisively now. It is just a matter of time before matters change for the worse and then really bad,” he said.

“I strongly urge the Department of Health to always include updates on testing kits in the daily COVID-19 press briefings. The Level 2 and Level 3 regional medical centers and private tertiary hospitals must be able to test for COVID-19 instead of waiting for results from samples sent to the few testing facilities in Metro Manila,” he added.