The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations Major General Benedict Arevalo representing the AFP Chief of Staff General Gilbert Gapay together with National Task Force for COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., led the send-off ceremony for the 25-man medical contingent of the AFP at Villamor Airbase on November 23, 2020.
Also in attendance were Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Deputy Chief Implementer for Visayas Retired Major General Melquiades Feliciano.
The contingent is composed of five teams of military doctors and nurses, and medical aides from the AFP Health Service Command, Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, and the Philippine Air Force.
These medical teams will be heading to Davao City to augment the Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 efforts and increase the health system capability of the city. This was after Davao City was classified as “Restricted LGU” due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the area with a number of 5,652 as of November 20.
“We are tirelessly working together since the COVID pandemic started, the continuous and collective efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have all yielded fruitful results as we are able to provide medical service despite the growing challenges in our society,” MGen Arevalo said delivering the message of the AFP Chief of Staff.
The contingent is led by the most senior officer, Major Sheryl D. Balmeo from the Philippine Army Medical Corps. All members of the contingent underwent swab testing and flu vaccination prior their flight at 8 am via Philippine Air Force C130 aircraft.
Upon the arrival of the contingent, the Eastern Mindanao Command (EASTMINCOM) will assume operational control of the medical teams. EASTMINCOM will provide billeting, security, and service support for the contingent during the duration of their deployment. Davao City is under the Area of Responsibility of EASTMINCOM.
As of date, AFP has deployed over 2,000 doctors, nurses, and military medical auxiliary are deployed in COVID-19 treatment and quarantine facilities nationwide. The AFP has also deployed 10,945 personnel to community quarantine assistance areas nationwide to support Sub-Task Group Peace and Order.
“Nakita natin na sa lahat ng anumang calamities, whether it is typhoon, earthquake or even flooding nandyan kayo, alam nyo yung sitwasyon na nangyari sa Cebu, Bacolod, when the National Government called for your service, nakita naming na talaga namang the armed forces is really willed, it is the unit and the command that we can rely on,” Secretary Galvez said.
“This signifies that we are able to be deployed in different areas where our services and assistance are very much needed, your armed forces assures the people that it is our duty to help the national government and its efforts to contain the virus in the country,” MGen Arevalo added.
AFP’s efforts against COVID19 continues and will not falter as other units are committed to the ongoing clearing and relief operations to areas that were devastated by recent typhoons. AFP.MIL.PH