PRC’s medical tents/ PNB’s ‘malasakit’ sharing
Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) - March 26, 2020 - 12:00am

Characteristically, the Philippine Red Cross has quickly responded to the call to help human victims of the corona virus. It put up an emergency field hospital tent near the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) last week in response to the hospital’s letter asking for PRC’s assistance due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

“We are one with the hospitals in catering to the needs of our people,” says PRC chairman and CEO Sen. Richard Gordon. He adds that the Red Cross aims to put up more emergency field hospital tents in areas suffering from spikes in coronavirus cases. The tents would also allow patients with underlying conditions to be immediately tested and treated.

The tent at NKTI can accommodate up to 10 patients in isolation which is an ideal setup since most patients at NKTI are immune compromised and can easily be at risk to infection and contagious diseases. The tent will still be manned by the NKTI staff and health workers, with regular visits and support from Red Cross staff and volunteers.

Aside from the tent, the Red Cross has recently distributed face masks and personal protective equipment (PPEs) to frontline government agencies, like the Bureau of Customs, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Foreign Affairs, and to Hong Kong-bound overseas Filipino workers.

According to Gordon, PRC has previously used medical tents during the dengue and measles outbreak, in support of the hospitals which were overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients affected by these diseases. Tents were also used during the massive Mindanao earthquakes which damaged many hospitals that were unable to house patients.

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Philippine National Bank (PNB), one of the country’s largest lenders, has released the 13th month pay to all its employees in all its offices around the country as it supports the well-being of its employees amid the emergency health crisis caused by COVID-19.

President and CEO Wick Veloso said, “We fully support the enhanced community quarantine. We hope that by releasing the 13th month pay early, our employees will be encouraged to stay home during the entirety of the quarantine.”

Veloso also said the Bank triggered its business continuity plan (BCP) early. “We took immediate measures to limit the exposure of our employees to the virus. Our information technology group has been busy enabling work-from-home arrangements for our employees. Many employees were able to bring home their devices, allowing them to work securely and support customers of various business units of the Bank.”

As part of the BCP, a skeletal workforce was stationed at the PNB head office in Macapagal in Pasay City. Veloso says, “The dedication of Philnabankers is priceless. We understand the risks of having to work in this time of enhanced community quarantine and this is why we are giving a special daily allowance to each employee who reports to the office,” he says. “We have shortened their work hours so they can comply with the curfew. Our bank vehicles and transport providers are available to bring them to designated pick-up and drop-off points.”

The Bank recognizes that finances is a major concern during times of crisis. For employees’ physical health and peace of mind, PNB has agreed with its accredited health care provider to include COVID-19-related hospitalization expenses in employee’s health care coverage.

Veloso says “malasakit” or genuine concern for one another is one of PNB’s core values. “Our people are our most-valued resource and they are our partner in our success. Taking care of them goes beyond providing them with the skills, knowledge and productivity tools. For us in PNB, it also means protecting their welfare and that of their families.”

The veteran banker proudly shares how his fellow Philnabankers have demonstrated “malasakit” amidst the challenge. Since public transportation is scarce during this time, some of the bank’s employees offer car rides to their officemates. Other employees volunteer their services at the PNB COVID-19 Command Center in Pasay. Others whose branches are temporarily closed, offer help to PNB branches that are open. Veloso says, “Employees are enjoined to practice social distancing and proper hygiene at all times.”

Meanwhile, select PNB branches in key locations nationwide remain open. Veloso says, “In support of the enhanced community quarantine, we encourage our clients to use our online banking channels so that they stay home. For easier fund transfer, we waived the transaction fees for PESONet and InstaPay until April 15, 2020.”

To help customers look for open branches, PNB updates the status of its branches real-time. To view which branches are open, visit @PNBph on Facebook or the official website at www.pnb.com.ph.

Philippine National Bank is one of the country’s largest private universal banks in terms of assets and deposits. It provides a full range of banking and other financial services to its highly diverse clientele comprised of individual depositors, small and medium enterprises, domestic and international corporations, government institutions, and overseas Filipinos. Backed by over a century of stability and excellence, PNB looks forward to more years of serving its customers first. To know more about PNB, visit its official website: www.pnb.com.ph.

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The province of Misamis Oriental has been declared in a state of calamity. Several persons have been found asymptomatic, and fewer still, are those found positive of COVID-19 and confined in Cagayan de Oro City. Thankfully, Gingoog City (three hours by land transportation from CDO), has no COVID-19 case.

Concerned about the dreadful impact of COVID-19, Mayor Erick Cañosa has issued Executive Order No. 20 Series of 2020 to prevent the coming of the coronavirus to Gingoog City: curfew hours set (8 pm to 4 a.m.), quarantine imposed, passengers have to get down from the bus coming from Cagayan de Oro and Butuan cities to be checked for temperatures by the police at checkpoints, people who have to go to work must present passes. Churches, gyms, basketball playing venues, beer houses, Ktv bars, disco bars, cockpits, internet café, Pisonet and Vape shops are closed. Selling of liquor is prohibited. Gatherings, commencement programs, parties, day or night, not allowed. Irrepressible kids play in the streets, and parents drag them in at the sight of a police car coming.

Some barangays have distributed food packs. Our barangay 22 officers handed to residents two kilos of rice, multi vitamins and Bioderm soap at the barangay hall in the morning. In the afternoon, until 8 p.m., the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team headed by Barangay captain Barotoc (DK) Macaumbao, Milagros Antonio, chair of the kagawad health committee, and kagawads Evita Hernandez, Armando Avila, Elizabeth Chaves, Alma TanudTanud, Edwina Manlangit, and James Rana knock on the doors of houses to distribute the goods.

The kagawads earlier met to discuss the purpose of the visits to households. Capt. DK said the purpose was threefold: to issue quarantine passes to residents who want to go out of the city, to inventory strangers or foreigners living in households, to check on persons with cough and colds, and take those with perceived COVID-19 symptoms to hospitals.

While Gingoognons know, from TV and radio reports and word of mouth, of COVID-19’s fatal effects, they seem happy, and hopeful that the disease will not come to Gingoog.

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Email: dominitorrevillas@gmail.com

PHILIPPINE RED CROSS RICHARD GORDON
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