Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged on Wednesday the Department of Health (DOH) to equip and capacitate hospitals and designate testing centers in areas outside Luzon so they can immediately detect cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in their respective regions.

In a radio interview, Go, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Health, called on the DOH to immediately capacitate health institutions in the Visayas and Mindanao to test suspected Covid-19 cases, most especially in far-flung areas with limited resources.

“Para sa ating mga ahensiya ng gobyerno, lalo na ang DOH, hindi naman po nagkulang si (Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte) sa pagsiguro na may sapat tayong pondo para mapangalagaan ang kalusugan ng mga Pilipino, lalo na sa panahong ito na may (For our government agencies, especially the DOH, President Rodrigo Duterte did not fall short in ensuring that we have enough funds to safeguard the health of the Filipinos, especially at this time where there is a) Covid-19 outbreak,” Go said.

“Hinihiling ko lang na sana’y mapabilis natin ang sistema sa pagbigay ng kaukulang solusyon para maiwasan ang pagkalat ng Covid-19 sa bansa sa pamamagitan ng pagdagdag ng mga testing centers, lalo na sa Visayas at Mindanao (I’m requesting to fast-track the system of providing solutions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the country through more testing centers, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao),” he added.

He also wants to help medical institutions cope with the situation by providing them with much needed personal protective equipment and test kits in select capable centers nationwide.

Go added that with the enactment of the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, DOH should be able to mobilize resources and manpower immediately.

Under the law, emergency measures in response to the pandemic should include adopting and implementing measures to “suppress further transmission and spread of Covid-19 through effective education, detection, protection and treatment.”

The law also provides that “DOH shall prioritize the allocation and distribution of the aforesaid goods, supplies and other resources” to public health facilities in the regions, provinces or cities that are designated as Covid-19 referral hospitals; private hospitals which have existing Covid-19 capacities; and public and private laboratories that have existing capacities to test suspected Covid-19 patients.

“Siguraduhin natin na ma-implement natin ito nang maayos while mobilizing immediately and efficiently dahil ang krisis ng pandemic ngayon ay (We must ensure that it will be implemented smoothly while mobilizing immediately and efficiently because the crisis due to the pandemic now is) time critical,” Go emphasized.

He also stressed the need to capacitate health institutions nationwide even in far-flung areas.

“Siguraduhin natin na pati mga ospital sa pinaka-malalayong lugar ay magkaroon ng kapasidad na maalagaan ang komunidad nila. Huwag na po natin intayin na kumalat sa lugar nila ang virus. Ngayon pa lang, ihanda na natin sila. May mga lugar na hindi pa nakakapag-test ng mga posibleng may Covid-19 na sakit (Let us ensure that even those hospitals in the farthest areas have the capacity to take care of their community. Let’s not wait for the virus to spread in their places. As early as now, we must prepare them. There are areas that have yet to test possible Covid-19 patients),” Go said.

“Dapat makarating sa kanila ang mga supplies at test kits na kailangan para maagapan ang pagkalat ng virus. Bilisan natin at siguraduhin natin na handa hindi lang ang Luzon, kundi ang buong bansa (The essential supplies and kits must reach them to contain the spread of the virus. Let us act quickly and ensure that Luzon, as well as the whole country, is ready for this),” he added.