DILG orders Metro Manila LGUs to activate task force to curb COVID-19 spread

Robie de Guzman   •   March 9, 2020   •   402

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday ordered local government units (LGU) in the National Capital Region (NCR) to activate their respective task forces to help in monitoring and stopping the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the communities.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the directive following the declaration of Code Red sublevel 1 by the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday after confirming that the sixth patient, the wife of the previously reported fifth case in San Juan City, is the country’s first case of local transmission of the virus.

The Code Red sublevel 1 alert is issued when a local transmission is recorded.

“Local transmissions pose greater chances for the virus to spread and that’s the last thing we want to happen. Kaya naman inaatasan ko ang mga LGU ng NCR to activate their LCTF o Local COVID-19 Task Force to prevent the situation from escalating,” Año said in a statement.

He added that local COVID-19 task forces in NCR “must work double time to ensure that further spread of the virus will be halted.”

Año said the task force shall direct the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Local City Health Office, upon receiving the referrals from the DOH-Emergency Operations Center, to coordinate directly with, and transport, the symptomatic persons to the nearest DOH referral facility for testing.

The symptomatic persons will immediately undergo triage which will determine if the person is a severe case or a mild case.

If the patient is found to be a mild case, the ambulance will be directed to bring the patient confirmed as Persons under Investigation (PUIs) to the nearest DOH-designated hospital for treatment. If found to be a severe case, the patient will be put on isolation or will be admitted to a medical facility.

“The LCTF shall always be on top of all related situations and concerns, and coordinate closely with the DOH-Center for Health Development,” Año said.

All DILG city directors are likewise directed to coordinate with their local chief executives, which will work closely with the DOH regional office.

“It is only through cooperation and vigilance can we guarantee that this virus will not be a greater threat in our country kaya inaasahan ang patuloy na pakikipagtulungan ng lahat ng LGU sa iba pang sangay ng pamahalaan lalo na sa DOH,” the DILG chief said.

Año also reported that 25,411 barangays in the country have already organized their Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) which can aid in controlling further community transmissions of the virus.

The team is comprised of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers, one of them a nurse or a midwife, as appointed by the Punong Barangay.

Part of its responsibility is to monitor the community through home visitation of arriving passengers from a coronavirus-infected country within the locality, ensuring that all residents are accounted for.

The Philippines currently has 10 COVID-19 cases.

Worldwide, the virus has killed 3,639 people with 106,893 confirmed cases in 103 countries, according to World Health Organization’s coronavirus dashboard data.

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mandaluyong City beefs up rapid testing after COVID-19 infects 277 tricycle drivers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.

This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.

Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.

The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.

“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.

The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC

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