Baguio frontliner recovers from COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 6, 2020   •   133

Doctors, nurses, and other staff at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) erupted in cheers as a frontliner was discharged after recovering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The victory is even sweeter when they have to celebrate the recovery of a colleague, a fellow frontliner, a friend.

Jonover David, 33 years old, is among the frontliners who had to face the same virus they are fighting against.

“Ito iyong graduation na hindi ako nag-aral, pero ito iyong graduation na iniyakan ko talaga (This is the graduation I did not study for, but this is the graduation that brought me to tears),” he said.

Jonover is a CCU nurse at BGHMC and has been caring for people in the frontlines. He tested positive for COVID-19 and was admitted on April 15. He said his personal battle against the virus was not easy, but he was glad to have faced it with his colleagues.

“Hindi ko na-feel na pinandirihan ako. Hindi nila pinaramdam sa akin na kailangan akong i-blame. Bagkus ay inalagaan pa nila ako, (I never felt discriminated. They did not make me feel that I was to blame, instead they took care of me),” he said.

For Jonovan, the battle for him is not yet over. Once he is given the clearance, he would gladly return to the frontlines. AAC

Baguio, Cebu City mayors appeal for reclassification of cities’ quarantine status

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 29, 2020

The mayors of Baguio City and Cebu City have appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to reclassify their respective cities’ community quarantine status.

“Considering that Baguio is relatively successful in implementing COVID-19 response and management measures within our borders, we are inclined to seek a reconsideration of our classification before the IATF Screening and Validation Committee,” according to the appeal of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Magalong has appealed to the IATF-MEID to place Baguio City under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) instead of General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

The IATF-MEID, under IATF Resolution No. 40, recommended that Baguio City be placed under GCQ until June 15.

Magalong noted that Baguio City was able to successfully control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through their mass testing, and implementation of health and safety protocols.

Baguio City has recorded 32 confirmed COVID-19 cases; 29 of them have already recovered.

“With the steps we have already taken, the innovations we seek to accomplish, and the disciplined character of the Cordilleran people, you are assured that the City of Baguio will be exemplary in the implementation of MGCQ regulations,” the appeal reads.

Meanwhile, Cebu Mayor Edgar Labella also filed an appeal to place the city under GCQ instead of Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). The IATF-MEID recommended for Cebu City to be placed under MECQ.

“Our case fatality rate remains at 1% while our recovery rate is already at 22% and we are seeing a downtrend on our COVID19 cases. I really hope that IATF will grant our request,” Labella said.

“It is but a logical step for the city government to transition into General Community Quarantine but with the corollary discretion to place under segmental and sequential lockdown critical areas,” according to Labella’s appeal.

The IATF-MEID has given local government officials to submit their appeal until Friday (May 28).AAC

Baguio City eyes gradual transition to general community quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2020

Baguio City will undergo a “very, very gradual transition” should it be placed under general community quarantine after May 15 when the extended enhanced community quarantine is lifted, Mayor Benjamin Magalong said.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Magalong said the city government has prepared “calibrated, graduated sequential actions” on how to ease up restrictions on certain sectors.

“Baka within two weeks after May 15, baka parang nasa ECQ pa rin tayo,” he said.

He assured that these measures are compliant with the quarantine guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).

The mayor said these measures include the opening of construction to address critical projects which are subject to strict evaluation.

This will be followed by the opening of the transport sector, normalizing of government operations and key economic sectors like manufacturing, business process outsourcing (BPO), opening of key hotels with restaurants, small establishments to include restaurants and retail, and then scaled-down entertainment, worship gatherings, family-oriented activities, in that order.

Magalong stressed that the opening of above-mentioned sectors shall be demand-driven and will follow certain schedules.

Big hotels, on the other hand, will not be allowed to open yet.

“We will always be aligned with the general provisions of the general guidelines of the GCQ,” he said.

“What I’m saying is we have a plan on how to transition, but ‘yung by scheduling, unti-unti. Pati borders, di ko basta-basta open for all,” he added, emphasizing that systems will be put in place like on-line registration.

As to the operation of its Sto. Nino Hospital, which is designated as a COVID-19 facility, the mayor said, it is physically ready and is just awaiting finalization of staffing.

He said the hospital staffing will be funded by the DOH while the administrative support which include provision of security and utility manpower, will be shouldered by the city government.

He said that after May 11, they expect that all other hospitals in the city will no longer accept COVID 19 positive patients, except for Sto. Nino and BGH-MC.

“Ayaw natin mixed-use yung hospital natin,” he added.

Magalong said the city is finalizing proposed modifications in the general guidelines under GCQ, which will be shared with the public in due time.

Donation for fuel: Jeepney drivers in Baguio opt for donations instead of collecting fare

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 30, 2020

Alano Abuan is grateful for the chance to go out and operate his jeepney again.

Since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the government has temporarily banned public transportation to avoid the further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, five barangays in Baguio City applied for a travel permit for jeepney drivers to operate, on the condition that instead of passengers paying for the fare, they can opt to donate.

Barangay councilman (Kagawad) Arturo Frias said they want to assist the jeepney drivers as well as constituents who would need to travel amid the ECQ. Frias said they are proud of their jeepney drivers for their service.

Sabi ng mayor, huwag kayong maningil. Kung magkano iyon ibigay na donation, iyong lang. Proud kami sa mga driver dito kasi hindi po sila pwersang naniningil sa mga pasahero (The mayor said don’t ask for payment. Whatever donation they give is fine. We are proud of our drivers because they do not forcefully collect payment from their passengers), he said.

Alano said there is no problem if passengers would only donate as long as he can still provide for his family.

Basta mayroon okay iyon. Nagkakasya naman (As long as we have something. It is enough),he said.

One of the passengers, Andrew Gangganga said the donations can both help the passengers as well as the drivers amid the ECQ.

Maganda po kasi kapag donation, kahit anong amount, okay lang. Nakakatulong din iyong driver, give and take lang (It is good because if it is a donation any amount is okay. It will help the driver, just give and take),” he said. –AAC

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