MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said he will seek the help of Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police medical personnel in case hospitals start needing additional staff.
"Kung wala nang iba, 'yung mga nurses sa pulis marami 'yan, pati sa medical corps ng army (If there's no one else, there are a lot of nurses in the police, also the medical corps of the army). I have to use a little of my influence sa kanila to convince them," he said in a taped public address aired late Wednesday.
"I don't want to order them kasi pangit 'yan. Makikiusap lang ako na tulungan ang mga kababayan natin. Kung wala na akong mahila dito, mahila doon, kayo na. Wala na akong ibang maasahan, sino pa bang matawagan ko."
(I don't want to order them because that won't look good. I will ask them to help our countrymen. If I don't have anyone to pull out, I will ask them. Who else can I rely on or call on?)
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the AFP has sent two nurses to St. Luke's Medical Center after the hospital sought help. He added that the AFP will continue looking for nurses and medical personnel from its ranks who could be deployed to hospitals in Metro Manila.
The Philippines is fighting one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreak, as it struggles to contain the growth of new infections likely driven by the COVID-19 Delta variant, which is also ripping through the country's health care system.
The positivity rate is 24.9 percent, based on the test results of 53,349 individuals screened for the disease on Monday.
The country's intensive care unit (ICU) beds utilization rate is at 78 percent. In Metro Manila, the ICU bed rate is at 77 percent.
Ward beds are currently 72 percent occupied nationwide, while ward beds in the capital region is at 71 percent.
As of Wednesday, the country has logged a total of 2,417,419 COVID-19 cases, with 37,228 deaths and 162,580 active cases.