To expedite the process of testing for coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19, especially with some 500,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) expected to arrive until December, Senator Richard Gordon, chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, met with officials of concerned agencies to further fine-tune the testing process.
“We have to make sure that we resolve the glitches that we have experienced with the OFWs that we already tested so that the process will be smooth sailing, especially with the volume of OFWs expected to arrive in the next few months and the large number of people that should be tested to determine the positivity rate,” he said.
Gordon met Tuesday with Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III; Transportation Undersecretary Raul Del Rosario, Administrator of the Office of Transportation Security; Bases and Conversion Development Authority President and CEO Vivencio “Vince” Dizon, who is also deputy chief implementer of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases and the country’s new COVID-19 testing czar; and Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration; and Dr. Robert Salvador, director of the Bureau of Quarantine, among others.
Other attendees also included the Philippine Coast Guard, represented by Admiral Joseph Coyme; Bureau of Immigration, thru Griffon Medina; and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, represented by Dr. Nestor Santiago. Secretary Carlito Galvez, IATF chief implementer, was not able to attend the meeting due to an earlier appointment and had a separate meeting with Gordon later in the afternoon.
Gordon presented some issues they have experienced which led to the alleged “backlog” complained by some OFWs, such as the samples were sent more than three days after swabbing; errors in the submitted case investigation forms; and wrong assignment of barcodes, among others.
“Natatagalan kasi mali-mali ang pag-fill up nung CIF kaya matagal hanapin ‘yung records. May case pa isang barcode, in-assign sa dalawang tao; meron aming isang tao, apat na barcodes ang naka-assign sa kanya. May mga pinaulit pa kaming swab kasi ‘yung mga sample more than three days nang nakuha bago dinala sa ‘min. Isa-isa na nating naresolve ang mga ‘yan,” he said.
The PRC chief also presented the new COVID-19 Platform developed for the PRC’s COVID testing centers by young volunteers Dashboard Philippines. The software system ensures speedy and organized process from start to the release of results.
Dizon, for his part, liked the system, especially the Red Cross certification generated from the system and proposed to have it adjusted to have the certification from the Bureau of Quarantine and the PCG certification integrated into the PRC certification. He and the officials of the concerned agencies also assured that they would also address the other issues so they would not be encountered again. (PRC)