House panel approves creation of medical reserve corps

The Committee on Health at the House of Representatives approved the bill aiming to establish a for emergencies and pandemic such as the COVID-19.

Quezon Rep. Helen Tan, who chairs the committee, said the measure would augment the country’s healthcare force in case of emergencies.

Under the proposed bill, the Department of Health would be required to organize a reserve medical network that is composed of licensed medical practitioners. The group could include retired, graduates of medicine, medical students who have completed four years of the medical course, registered nurses, and licensed allied health professionals.

Further, the measure would also mandate the DOH to establish guidelines on recruitment, compulsory and continuing training, and incentives, and length of service of medical reserve corps.

“Many hospitals in Metro 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.

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House panel approves creation of

The solon then noted that the COVID-19 unraveled the country’s weak healthcare system, including its inability to address surge of patients due to a lack of medical professionals.

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

As of August 27, the Department of Health has recorded 205,581 cases in the country, with  133,990 recoveries and 3,234 deaths.

Meanwhile, in April, Iloilo Representative Raul Tupas urged the government to mobilize the Army Reserve Force of the Philippines to reinforce the workforce responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Tupas said the chosen reservists might be assigned to help local government units in assisting in logistics, checkpoints, area containment, and public affairs amid the fight against the virus.

He also said merchant marine courses graduates and licensed or employed security guards may also be mobilized as additionally activated reservists.