On COVID-19: TBM calls for unified action

The Tabang Bikol Movement (TBM) recently urged governors, mayors and health authorities in the region to prepare for immediate massive testing of people who are under immediate potential threat of Covid-19.

TBM, a multi-sectoral civil society organization and a member of the Regional Development Council (RDC) issued the call in the light of 90,000 persons under monitoring (PUM) in the region, lack of health care facilities, and shortage of medical workers.

The call was also addressed to Malacanang and the RDC.

TBM said thousands of Covid-19 testing kits have been donated to the DOH coming from the World Health Organization (WHO), China, South Korea, the Jack Ma Foundation, and other groups.

“Some of these should be immediately distributed in designated public hospitals and laboratories in the region. But what is also needed is to have medical experts and lab technicians who are well trained to handle these sensitive instruments,” TBM said.

The group also urged the identification of hospitals and isolation units – including gyms and other buildings where patients infected by the virus will be isolated and treated.

Evita Jimenez-Tuazon, TBM chairperson, called for coordinated and concerted actions by local government units (LGU) and government agencies in cooperation with community leaders, non government organizations and other groups.

“How we address this scourge – that spares neither race nor borders, spreads across countries, and across communities – is probably the biggest challenge in our lifetime that will impact our lives and future,” Tuazon said.

In its urgent appeal and call to action, the TBM also urged the prompt implementation of: 1. Activation of barangay-level public address system (Bandilyo) for aggressive and sustained mass information and for monitoring contact reduction and prevention; 2. ensure widespread access to free Covid-19 testing and identification for early, proactive case detection, identification;

3. Integrated social safety nets for the poor through food subsidies; 4. Support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and 5. Support for the front-liners especially the health workers.