Press Release

PRRD assigns Cimatu COVID-19 overseer in Cebu — Palace


The Palace reiterates, on June 22, the new assignment of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee government’s COVID-19 response in Cebu.

The increasing cases of COVID-19 in Cebu City and Talisay City and the cities’ case doubling time and critical care capacity data have prompted the national government to intervene to address the situation.

The Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the National Task Force were asked to assist Sec. Cimatu in fulfilling his duties.

“Ano pong mandato po ni Sec. Cimatu? Gawin ang lahat para masolba ang problema ng pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa siyudad ng Cebu. At lilinawin naman po natin ito po ang siyudad ng Cebu,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. in his June 23 virtual media briefing.

The Palace official also said that as part of Sec Cimatu’s new designation, he will act as the President’s representative and will have powers by virtue of delegated powers of the President.

“Ang sabi po ng Presidente gawin niya ang lahat ng dapat gawin. Hindi na po kinakailangan kumuha ng permiso kahit kanino. I-exercise niya ang lahat ng kapangyarihan ng IATF. Ipagbigay alam lamang sa IATF pero kinakailangan manalo tayo sa laban natin sa COVID-19 sa siyudad ng Cebu,” said Secretary Roque, who is also the concurrent IATF spokesman.

Secretary Cimatu’s assignment came after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) recommended to the President measures to address the current situation and immediate concerns in Cebu with regard to the COVID-19 situation.

For Cebu City, among the immediate concerns found were the lack of medical personnel and staff in different major hospitals, the increasing severe and critical cases that is greatly affecting Cebu City’s healthcare capacity, and the need to increase the capacity of Cebu City and Cebu Province while on ECQ/MECQ. PRRD also instructed Cabinet members to organize NTF Response in Cebu City to strictly enforce the quarantine protocols.

“Ang malinaw po na sinabi ni Presidente, wala pong kwenta ang paninisi sa puntong ito. There’s no need for finger pointing kaya ang apela po niya sa lahat ng kanyang mga kababayan dyan sa Cebu City at sa Talisay, alam naman po natin kung gaano kalala at ganon kabilis kumalat ang Covid-19. Sinabi na po natin ang mga pamamaraan para mapabagal na yan at hindi po nangyari,” Secretary Roque said.

The Palace spokesman added: “Ibig sabihin hindi po tayo sumunod doon sa mga tanging pamamaraan para mapabagal yang mga sakit so hinihingi niya po ang kooperasayon ng kanyang mga kababayan dyan po sa siyudad ng Cebu at sa Talisay,” said Secretary Roque.

Secretary Roque also underscored the need for local government units to cooperate with the national government’s COVID-19 response. “Syempre po, kinakailangan makipagtulungan pa rin ang mga lokal na pamahalaan. Hindi naman po kakayanin yan ng isang tao. So kinakailangan po ngayon kapit bisig, bayanihan. We will heal as one as we move as one dyan po sa Cebu City at dyan sa Talisay,” Sec. Roque said.

Meanwhile, the IATF is also looking to address the increasing new cases in the Eastern Visayas through a visit by NTF representatives in the Eastern Visayas to provide PPEs, test kits, and N95 masks, mobilize the RIATF and RTFs, inspect testing labs and quarantine facilities, and address the issue on locally stranded individuals and have them tested for RT-PCR. ### OPS-PCOO