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MAYORS UNITE VS. 2019-nCoV; CAPITOL TO RELEASE P25M FOR LGUS
By: Mylen P. Manto | Published Thursday, February 06, 2020
Mayors of all LGUs under the jurisdiction of Cebu Province vowed to support Governor Gwen Garcia’s initiative against 2019-nCoV. (Tonee Despojo)

The Cebu Provincial Government will release P25.5 million for all local government units under its jurisdiction as financial assistance to be used in combating the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) crisis.

The LGUs were also tasked to form a monitoring team in their localities which will facilitate the home quarantine of arriving passengers at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) coming from mainland China and its special administrative regions believed to have been exposed to the virus.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia earlier signed an executive order (EO) imposing the 14-day quarantine of passengers from China, Hongkong and Macau and identifying the protocols of home quarantine as one of the options for Filipino citizens or foreigners who are carrying a Philippine permanent residency visa.

The mayors vowed to adopt the governor's EO and to declare a state of preparedness in their localities so they can all act in unison in facing the crisis, after some LGUs earlier opposed identifying their towns as quarantine areas.

“We should all join hands here. We should not be fighting each other kay what we need now is unity. Cebu is doing its part to make this burden a little lighter,” Garcia told the local officials during an emergency meeting on Wednesday, February 6, at the Capitol Social Hall, which was also attended by the key members of the 2019-nCoV provincial task force, municipal and city health officers and chiefs of police.

“This is a declaration of unity against the virus and a declaration of unity for the good of Cebu. There’s no other option, we have to win,” the governor said.

In a memorandum Garcia issued to the local officials during the emergency meeting, the mayors were identified as the head of their respective monitoring teams and shall identify a point person who will regularly coordinate with the Provincial Task Force Quarantine Team in the MCIA for possible referrals for home quarantine. 

DOH Central Visayas regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas said home quarantine is an alternative option considering the limited quarantine facility the province and the DOH have.

The LGU monitoring team will be tasked to inspect the household of the arriving passenger who is a candidate for home quarantine to check if it qualifies as a venue based on Garcia’s EO issued last Monday, Feb. 3. 

Garcia's order stated that among the requirements for home quarantine is the availability of a separate room where the person will be isolated. No children below 10 years old or elderlies beyond 60 years old should also be in the same residence.

Garcia said the mayor should direct barangay captains to assign barangay tanods to secure the vicinity of the household if it qualifies to be a venue for home quarantine. 

The local police chief shall also assign personnel to ensure that the person identified for home quarantine (PIHQ) remains isolated.

Each of the 51 LGUs in the province, composed of 44 municipalities and seven component cities, will receive half million pesos to spend for procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, disinfectant alcohol, face masks and others to protect themselves from the threat of the 2019-nCoV ARD. 

“Immediately, we will instruct our provincial treasurer to issue kay this is of more urgent nature than social. That’s why I’ve asked them to pass the state of preparedness pero karon pa lang paandam na lang nako kay dugay man gud na nga process,” Garcia said.

FIRST LGU 

Bernadas also told the governor that DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed his admiration for Cebu Province being the first LGU in addressing the threat of the new virus.

He said the governor's swift action is one good display of solidarity and this is one good proof that the governor can lead this island for universal health care. 

“I believe we can rise above this crisis. Cebu will lead the way, kita'y magpakita nga kaya nato ni, dinhi sa Sugbo,” he said.

In an interview after the meeting, Bernadas said that in Central Visayas, there are 29 persons under investigation (PUIs), 21 of which is in Cebu, seven in Negros Oriental, and one in Bohol. 

DOH has also listed persons under monitoring.

The health chief reported two of the nine Filipino passengers who arrived on Wednesday, February 5 onboard Cathay Pacific from Hongkong were brought to the government’s facility after their houses located in Liloan did not meet the qualifications for home quarantine.

One passenger, a resident of San Remigio, was allowed to go home as she was qualified for a home quarantine.

Those who will be in home quarantine will not be allowed to go outside their rooms. A police officer and barangay tanod will secure the place 24/7. The city or municipal health officer will ensure strict monitoring and will regularly monitor the PIHQ on a daily or hourly basis. (Mylen P. Manto)