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‘Difficult work is saving lives’

Michelle R. Guillang

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Captain Eric Steven Guieb of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Task Force Laban Coronavirus Medical Team expressed his gratefulness to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and its chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, for helping with the rapid test more or less 20,000 displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFW) of the coronavirus disease.

“We’re all working together for the sake of this country. It’s a difficult job, heroic as the senator has said. We will do everything to solve this problem,” said Guieb during his meeting with Gordon on Thursday.

“We can’t do this alone so we really have to help one another. Good thing we have the Red Cross,” he added.

Capt. Guieb said it was amazing how Sen. Gordon led the PRC in putting up molecular testing labs to conduct the massive COVID-19 tests.

“In fact, he’s leading us with the PCR machines already. These machines would bring such huge help for the OFW — to ensure that once they go back to their families, they are free from COVID-19. They can hug their families, I’m sure they would love to do that,”

The PCG official also appealed to the barangay officials to accept the returning OFWs to their homes.

“They are heroes too. We are doing everything for them,” said Guieb.

Gordon likewise met with the medical professionals of PCG and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Vince Dizon to discuss the proper procedure in taking swab samples for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.

The senator commended the PCG for its service, saying, “what the PCG is doing is heroic.”

Officers of the PCG were earlier assigned to assist repatriated OFWs, both land-based and sea-based workers arriving every day, to their respective quarantine facilities and COVID-19 testing areas.

The units are stationed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminals 1 and 2 and Eva Macapagal Super Terminal inside Pier 15 serving more or less 2,000 OFWs arriving per day.

Dizon said the previous testing areas at these stations will be converted from rapid antibody test at the moment to PCR.

“By Saturday, there will be 12 testing booths at NAIA 2 and six at NAIA 1 manned by trained swab technicians from the PCG,” told Dizon.

“Your work saves lives”

After the meeting, Gordon also met with the medical technologists of the PRC’s COVID-19 testing labs in recognition of the important work of saving lives.

“You have a sacred duty — that is to serve our country even if they don’t appreciate us,” Gordon told the med techs.

“You’re going to help this country to stop the threat [of COVID-19] upon your families, friends, and neighbors,” he added.

The PRC is looking for additional medical technicians to man the 20 testing labs underway to boost the effort in combating COVID-19.

This is an addition to two fully operational COVID-19 PRC testing labs in Mandaluyong City and one lab in Port Area, Manila operating 24/7.

The Red Cross also needs volunteer encoders to input data on COVID-19 tests.

Volunteer encoders will help speed up mass testing and will receive allowances.

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