Senator Richard Gordon has prodded the Department of Health (DOH) to map out plans for the mass testing of villagers that have to be temporarily sheltered at evacuation centers around the country during calamities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Thousands of villagers in some provinces of Luzon camped out at various centers after Typhoon Ulysses dumped heavy rains that caused massive floods last week.
On Thursday, Gordon and Miss Universe Philippines titlist Rabina Mateo led the Philippine Red Cross’ (PRC) relief distribution in flood-ravaged Sipay village here.
After visiting the Isabela molecular laboratory which will be operational soon, Gordon proposed a reduction of PRC testing fees for Covid-19 from PHP3,500 to PHP2,000.
He said the organization’s humanitarian caravan has provided food and non-food relief to flood victims such as hygiene kits, rice, canned goods and drinking water. The PRC has earmarked 2,000 relief packs each for Isabela and Cagayan provinces.
Aside from pledging PHP5 million from the Good Samaritan Fund of Red Cross for health assistance to villagers in Isabela, Gordon said the organization would also donate a farm tractor to help in tilling lands.
He vowed more help for flood-prone areas as local government units like Cagayan and Isabela provinces have been lacking in disaster preparedness equipment as found out by the Commission on Audit.
Two years ago, the Red Cross was in Isabela to distribute galvanized iron sheets and crop seeds “but the farms were destroyed again.”
“This cycle of disaster must be stopped and the dredging of water must be serious,” Gordon said.
“Cagayan River is the longest in the Philippines, the government must not neglect the people here,” he added. (PNA)