Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas exhorted Western Visayas officials to adopt the anti-Covid strategies of Bacolod City and how the local government managed to sustain the decline of coronavirus infections in the last four weeks.
In a virtual meeting via Zoom Monday, Treñas was joined by Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. and Guimaras Gov. Samuel Gumarin in requesting City Administrator Em Ang, who represented Mayor Evelio Leonardia in the discussions, to share the programs of Bacolod so that other local government units in Region 6 may learn and adopt strategies applicable to their localities.
Ang, who is the concurrent Emergency Operations Center executive director and CoVaC coordinator, said that Bacolod City was simply guided by the PDITR or Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, and Re-integration strategy issued by the National Inter-Agency Task Force in June, a press release from the city said.
THE BACOLOD STRATEGY
Under the PDITR strategy, the Bacolod City government adopted a five-pronged approach by requiring those coming from Manila and Cebu to present negative RT-PCR test results upon arrival, advising new arrivals or anyone, especially those in the line list, to be confined or quarantined in the hospital, accredited hotels, or government-managed isolation facility, not allowing those found positive to go through home quarantine, and immediately transferring to isolation facilities those found positive and sealing off the residences of first-degree close contacts with the help of barangay officials, Ang added.
“Since local governments are in the frontlines, it is good to share local practices and challenges in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. That way, we learn from the experience of others and we can replicate what works best in addressing this public health crisis,” she said.
The Bacolod City government has also strengthened the compliance of the public with minimum health protocols, monitored workplaces such as business process outsourcing companies, casino and banks, discouraged mass gatherings, and strictly implements testing and contact-tracing and isolation strategies.
She said the initiatives of the city to accelerate the vaccinations of vulnerable sectors also helped, adding that 37 percent of the qualified population for vaccination already received their first dose, while 22 percent have been fully vaccinated.
The provinces of Guimaras and Antique may already be under critical Level 4 in their fight against Covid-19, Gumarin said, while Treñas disclosed that Iloilo City already logged 11 confirmed Delta variant infections.
He expressed concerns that the situation may be more challenging in the coming days as the city government has sent 104 additional samples to the Department of Health for confirmation on whether these are also positive for the Delta variant.
Aside from the two governors, Treñas and Ang, the other officials who attended the Zoom meeting were Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, focal person on Covid-19 of Iloilo City, and Edith Marie Garingalao-Ponsaran of the province of Capiz.*