CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City -  The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) takes a new role in the battle against COVID-19 as a non-medical support in the newly operational mega swabbing center in Enderun College, McKinley Hill, Taguig City on May 17, 2020.

Soldiers from the Philippine Army and personnel from the Philippine National Police are assigned to man the second mega swabbing center as encoders and barcoders who will assist the medical personnel that will conduct the swab test to the patients. 

The blessing of the mega swabbing center was witnessed by the AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos Jr. together with The Surgeon General, AFP Colonel Nelson Pecache, and Dr. Ma. Paz Corrales, DOH NCR Assistant Regional Director.

“The AFP is always prepared to provide necessary assistance to the national government in its fight against COVID-19. Manning these medical facilities may be different from our day to day responsibilities, however, your armed forces is always ready to answer the call wherever and whenever our help is needed,” General Santos said.

The swabbing center is one of the four “mega swabbing centers” to increase the capability of the country especially in Greater Manila Area to test people for COVID-19. The center is estimated to conduct 1,000 to 1,500 Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests per day.

RT-PCR test is also known for its “gold-standard” in terms of accuracy.

The other three mega swabbing centers are in Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, Mall of Asia in Pasay City, and in Palacio de Manila in Malate, Manila.

Since the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, the AFP has been supporting the government in its efforts in fighting the COVID19.

Aside from supporting the PNP in implementing the ECQ, the AFP used its land, sea, and air assets to support the logistics operations of the government in transporting essential supplies while the ECQ is in effect.

Likewise, the AFP utilized its military doctors and other medical personnel in manning the national quarantine facilities in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and in World Trade Center.

The AFP is also conducting humanitarian efforts to alleviate the negative effects of the crisis to Filipinos in this time of crisis, such as distribution of relief goods, hot meals and food packs to less fortunate individuals and families. The AFP also gave free rides for stranded frontline personnel and students.

“These efforts of the AFP are in support to the national government, ensuring that the welfare of the Filipinos is taken care of amid the pandemic in our country and that no Filipino will be left behind in this fight against COVID-19,” General Santos concluded.///


Photos by SN1 Donald Viluan PN/PAOAFP