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Iloilo City seeks re-assessment of ECQ status

The Iloilo City government is hopeful that the parameters that served as basis for retaining the city under enhanced community quarantine until Aug. 15 will be re-assessed and considered in its appeal for a less strict quarantine status.

In his five-page urgent letter of appeal dated yesterday, Mayor Jerry Treñas said the metropolis has been placed on strictest quarantine status based primarily on healthcare utilization rate.

The letter was addressed to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chief of the National Task Force Against Covid-19, chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Interior Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, and the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

“We keep on reiterating that Iloilo City is a regional center where all our hospitals are referral hospitals catering not only Covid-19 patients coming from the city but accepting patients who are residents of Iloilo province, Aklan, and Antique. As a matter of fact, they are swamping our hospitals more than our very own residents,” he said.

He said the healthcare utilization rate is not reflective of the real status of the city. Its health care system serves as catch basin of at least 45 percent to 70 percent critically-ill patients being referred by neighboring provinces and cities.

He added that the city’s cases from August 1 to 5 were “significantly lower” when compared with those of Iloilo province and Aklan. As per data from the Department of Health, the city has 370, Iloilo province has 764, while Aklan has 1,097 cases during the period.

He said the financial aid and assistance for the basic commodities are insufficient, even as he also expressed gratefulness for the provision.

“The adverse impacts of the prolonged hard lockdown since May 2021 cannot be solely ameliorated by the release of cash aids from the Department of Social Welfare and Development. It cannot allay the fear that the distribution of subsidies during an ECQ will only band-aid the bleeding economy,” Treñas added.

The mayor also emphasized the readiness of the city as he noted the daily monitoring of the Covid-19 situation, aggressive contact tracing, testing, isolation, and implementation of granular lockdown when necessary.

As he laid down the preparedness of the city, Treñas also appealed for augmentation of health personnel for hospitals catering to moderate to severe cases, provision of Covid-19 medicines, and other essentials.

He added that the extension of the ECQ classification will only impact on the majority of the residents.

“Absolute reliance on the numbers without taking into account the incessant reiteration of the factors affecting the high level of occupancy in our health care institutions do not serve the best interest of our constituents,” he said.

The mayor said that Iloilo City will be okay with the modified ECQ classification.

Meanwhile, the province of Iloilo has been placed under MECQ status until August 15.*PNA

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