The Philippines has already ‘lost’ its battle against COVID-19, according to Philippine Hospital Association (PHA) President Dr. Jaime Almora on Wednesday (March 31). 

In an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita, Almora said what they feared is already happening.

“Nangyayari na yung kinatatakutan nating mangyari,” he shared. 

He notes that hospitals are already ‘overran’ and ‘overwhelmed’ with cases of COVID-19 and many are unable to accommodate patients. 

“Ang mga ospital natin ngayon ay na-overran na, na-overwhlem na,” he continued.

At the moment, the Philippines is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The Department of Health’s tally on March 30 has shown a 9,296 daily increase in infections, which brings the total number of active cases in the country to 124,680.

In response to this recent surge, the Philippine Government decided to put Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). 

These areas, often labeled as ‘NCR Plus,’ will be under the reimposed ECQ and an 11-hour curfew (from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.) until April 4. 

Almora said the lack of hospital space for patients has been intensified by dwindling manpower. He mentions that numerous facilities are unable to function due to a lack of human resources. 

“Ibig sabihin kung wala silang capability, not necessarily wala silang capacity. Kung beds ang pag-uusapan, merong beds. Ang wala ay ang mag-aasikaso sa pasyente,” he said. 

He attributes the lack of nurses to the phasing out of schools, the lack of graduates due to the K-12 Program, and existing nurses transferring to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of Education (DepEd), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and other government sectors due to salary increases. 

“Nag-conspire ang lahat ng mga yan para mawalan ng nurses ang ating private hospitals,” Almora disclosed.

In light of this, Almora urged the government to reinforce the lack in manpower. 

“Nanawagan kami sa ahensiya ng gobyerno na nag-employ ng maraming nurse to provide reinforcement,” he requested.

Almora also echoed the health sector’s request to extend the ECQ period, which he says is the only remedy to curb the rise in COVID-19 cases.

You can watch the full interview below.

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