Duterte orders FDA, DOST to double workforce, operate 24 hours

Sofia Tomacruz
Duterte orders FDA, DOST to double workforce, operate 24 hours

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'Sabi ko kasi we are fighting a war here, a crisis,' says President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Hampered by supposed backlogs in operations to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as Department of Science and Technology (DOST), to hire more workers and ramp up the agencies’ activities.  

Duterte gave this directive in an address delivered Monday night, April 27, adding that he also wanted the government agencies to extend their operations to 24 hours. The President issued the order in light of  supposed “complaints” over delays in the FDA, without providing other details. 

Iyong sabi ko we are not operating under normal battle conditions…. We are operating in a crisis. Kaya sabi ko for the FDA and ‘yung kay Boy, Secretary sa DOST, mag-doble sila ng tao. And the FDA pati ‘yung mga laboratories ng DOST…your offices must run 24 hours,” Duterte said.  

(I said we’re not operating under normal battle conditions…. We are operating in a crisis. That’s why I said to the FDA and to Boy, secretary of the DOST, that they should double their people. And the FDA and laboratories of the DOST…your office must run 24 hours.)  

Duterte suggested the hiring of more medical technicians and recent graduates from medical schools, along with other health workers. 

“If you want to give your services, volunteer, I have authorized this both…itong dalawang opisina FDA pati ‘yung DOST (these two offices, FDA and DOST) to employ as much, as many that would be required para magmadalian (to hasten) and to enable the agencies to work day and night,” he said. 

Why this matters. The two agencies have crucial roles in the country’s coronavirus response and often work to complement one another’s efforts. 

In particular, the FDA approves and regulates tests kits, medical equipment, and medicines to be used when treating coronavirus patients.  

Meanwhile the DOST aids in efforts to ramp up testing, develop and study new forms of treatment, and taps scientists and researchers to develop badly needed equipment like ventilators that can help save the lives of coronavirus patients. 

The Philippines has so far recorded 7,777 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 511 deaths, and 932 recoveries. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.