With the country battling the COVID-19 crisis, what our front liners badly needed are their ‘battle gear’ to win this war.
Unfortunately, it is one of the biggest problems facing them now, the inadequacy of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will shield them from contracting the disease as they attend to numerous patients.
That is what was also observed by Kapuso celebrity LJ Reyes.
In a tweet, LJ questioned how come tons of donations are being delayed from reaching our hardworking front liners.
“Bakit maraming tulong ang di umaabot sa frontliners? I just wanna know? Or natatagalan lang? Pero urgent po ang need eh. Bakit? At paano po magagawan ng paraan?”
Bakit maraming tulong ang di umaabot sa frontliners? I just wanna know? Or natatagalan lang? Pero urgent po ang need eh. Bakit? At paano po magagawan ng paraan?
— LJ Reyes (@OfficialLjReyes) March 27, 2020
Private sectors have been getting raising a lot of donations for the front liners.
The Office of the Vice President Leni Robredo has been with Angat Buhay foundation getting PPE donations for the front liners. And as of their latest report, the fundraiser has already collected more than 23 million pesos.
Hi, Ma'am Fe! Maraming salamat po! Pwede po kayong magpadala ng tulong sa donation drive ng aming Angat Buhay partner, ang Kaya Natin!, sa https://t.co/vQsYQwvpSe. Narito rin po 'yong ibang detalye:
Maraming, maraming salamat, at mag-iingat po kayo diyan palagi❤️ pic.twitter.com/cFNnV6gY6J
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) March 24, 2020
The Office of the Vice President has also arranged dorms for the front liners because some of them are being rejected in their current condos and apartments for the fear of spreading the nCov virus.
[A] Libreng dormitory para sa mga COVID-19 frontliners, bubuksan! Bilang pagtugon sa kahilingan ng ating mga…
Right after the enhanced community quarantine was enforced, the OVP arranged for free shuttle for the health workers since public transportation was suspended.
[A] Nagsimula na ang pilot run ng libreng shuttle service na handog ng Office ni VP Leni Robredo para sa mga hospital workers sa NCR ngayong araw.
Tutok lang sa aming FB page para sa updates. pic.twitter.com/2PqobvMxsV
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) March 17, 2020
San Miguel Corporation, Ayala Group, MVP group of companies, SM Group, the Gokongweis JG Summit Holdings, and Jollibee Foods all gave millions of pesos worth of donations for medical supplies, food, and other equipment needed by the front liners.
But with those hefty donations, how come the medical facilities still lack their needed PPEs?
“DOH Secretary Francisco Duque appears now in the phase of deciding who lives and who does not in the bureaucratic mess he created inside the agency, “ said in the article.
“As health workers cry for personal protective equipment (PPE), foreign donations have flowed but are not being distributed fast enough due to the requirement that all donations pass through the DoH.
“Some donations are even caught in DoH red tape,” it added.
For hospitals to get those donated PPEs, they first need to send a request to DOH Director IV Gloria Balboa. Plus it needs to pass through other required paper work that makes it harder for hospitals to get the needed PPEs.
“The requirements are contained in two documents given to foreign and local donors that stated the need to send a letter to Duque; list down the items donated such as medicine (good for at least 12 months, properly labeled with English texts) and medical equipment (detailed specs plus unit cost); and projected delivery date and special handling requirements (like cold chain or warehouse requirements).
“After the donations arrive, donors still have to deal with paperwork, this time for the COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center.
“They are required to provide a deed of donation, packing list, the actual date of delivery, and a notice that ‘the DoH could add more requirements as necessary.’”
Aside from DOH, FDA has also imposed such bureaucratic restrictions that is adding to the now problematic situation.
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also joined Duque’s bandwagon of imposing bureaucratic hurdles in the distribution of PPE. The FDA requires importers to present a copy of their license to operate and proof of application for notification before the equipment are released.
“An FDA clearance is also required for a DoH permit to import the equipment.”