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Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the lead government agency that administers socialized housing programs for low-income families, is sending volunteers as part of a delegation organized by the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development that will assist in four mega swabbing centers to boost COVID-19 tests in the country.

The SHFC personnel will join 85 other volunteers from different units and attached agencies under the department to work as encoders and bar coders. They will be assigned in Palacio de Manila Tent in Manila, Enderun Colleges in Taguig, Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, and Philippine Arena in Bulacan. Each facility can accommodate at least 5,000 tests per day, according to the Department of Health. “As SHFC is one with the government in mitigating the economic, social, and health impacts of the crisis, we acted immediately by encouraging personnel from all departments and units to heed the call,” Human Resources Vice President Jessica Caraso said. The deployment came after Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea directed Cabinet members to assign at least 100 personnel from each agency to assist in the said mega swabbing centers as the government ramped up its testing capacity for COVID-19. “There were no second thoughts in my mind when I decided to sign up because I wanted to become part of the solution in containing the spread of COVID-19 despite the risks involved,” said Technical Staff I Brandon Perez of Mega Manila II Operations. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be of service to the country.”

The volunteers will undergo necessary training and will receive personal protective equipment, accommodation, food, and transportation. As state frontliners, they will be entitled to hazard pay and special risk allowance as provided in Administrative Orders 26 and 28 Series of 2020 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. SHFC has been doing its share in helping the government in its fight against the pandemic. Last month, the agency announced the suspension of some of its planned ancillary activities for the
year in compliance with the directives of the Department of Budget and Management to defer non-essential spending and realign the budget to respond to the virus crisis. It also implemented a three-month moratorium on loan amortization payments from March 16 to June 16, 2020, and donated medical supplies to the Philippine General Hospital in March.