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House health panel approves creation of medical reserve corps

The Committee on Health at the House of Representatives has approved the measure creating a medical reserve corps for pandemic and emergency situations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Quezon Rep. Helen Tan, who chairs the committee, said the proposed medical reserve corps will augment the country’s health personnel in case of health emergencies similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the proposed measure, the Department of Health will be mandated to organize the reserve medical network composed of licensed physicians, including those retired, graduates of medicine, medical students who have completed four years of medical course, registered nurses, and licensed allied health professionals.

Likewise, the measure also tasks the DOH to issue guidelines for the recruitment, compulsory and continuing training, compensation and incentives, and length of service of corps members.

“Many hospitals in Metro Manila and other parts of the country are short of medical staff due to the current pandemic. Our healthcare workers are exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. They have to take a rest,” Tan said.

“If we have a reserve force, they could temporarily take the place of tired health workers who have to take a break from toxic and risky work,” Tan added.

Tan then noted that the COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of the country’s healthcare system, including its inability to cope with the surge of patients due to lack of medically-trained personnel.

“The creation of a reserve medical corps will reduce the adverse health, economic and social impact of pandemic on the Filipino people,” Tan said.

The Philippines has recorded 205,581 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, August 27. Of this number, 133,990 recovered while 3,234 died.

The number of active COVID-19 cases is at 68,357, according to latest DOH data. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA News