MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) is ready to provide financial support to fund hotels and accommodation establishments in Bukidnon and convert them to COVID-19 treatment facility, NTF against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Secretary Vince Dizon said on Tuesday.
During the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (C.O.D.E.) Team visit here, Secretary Dizon thanked legislators for granting funds to the IATF-EID through the Office of the Civil Defense in order to establish more isolation facilities.
“We will be providing funding to get isolation hotels. This would be paid for by the national government, by the IATF,” he said.
“Wala pong gastos ang local government units, ang province. We will be providing the isolation hotels for you. Of course, DPWH will be building more but while we are waiting for those isolation facilities, gamitin na po natin yung various facilities, hotels. Plus, nakakatulong din po tayo sa mga medium and small enterprises [These come at no cost to the local government units and the province. We will be providing the isolation hotels for you. Of course, DPWH will be building more but while we are waiting for those isolation facilities, let’s use the various facilities, hotels. Plus, we will be able to help medium and small enterprises],” he added.
He also discussed the pillars of the COVID-19 response which are prevention, early detection and tracing, isolation, and treatment.
“Alam niyo po itong COVID-19 ay isang very dangerous and very insidious virus. It can just erupt at any time if we are not careful and if we are not vigilant,” he said.
Sec. Dizon also announced that they will be conducting mass testing in Bukidnon similar to what is done in various areas across the country, and assured that the government will pour assistance to Bukidnon.
“We can do it but we have to do it together. And you can count on the national government, the IATF, and the NTF to assist you in every way,” he said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also joined the dialogue where he outlined communications initiatives of the PCOO and its attached agencies to keep the public informed of the country’s response and programs to curb the spread of the virus.
“Halos siyam na buwan na ngayon nang nagsimula tayong maapektuhan ng COVID-19 dito sa Pilipinas. Binago nito ang ating pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay. Ang epekto nito ay hindi lamang sa individual at community level, kundi maging sa economic, governmental at iba pang level na nakasanayan na natin bago nangyari ang pandemyang ito [It has been almost nine months since we started being affected by COVID-19 here in the Philippines. It has changed our daily lives. Its effect is not only on the individual and community level, but also on the economic, governmental, and other levels that we are used to before this pandemic happened],” he said.
“Dahil naniniwala kami na ang involved public is an informed public, kami sa Presidential Communications Operations Office ay walang tigil at walang kapaguran sa pagpapalaganap ng impormasyon tungkol sa mga responses, actions, at programs ng administrasyong Duterte para mabawasan ang epekto ng COVID-19 [Because we believe that an involved public is an informed public, we, at the Presidential Communications Operations Office, will continue to be relentless and tireless in disseminating information about the responses, actions, and programs of the Duterte administration to mitigate the impact of COVID-19],” he added.
Among the communications programs they are undertaking to intensify information dissemination are the Laging Handa Public Briefing, Network Briefing News, The Virtual Presser, Alerto: a COVID-19 special, Leading Forward Virtual Town Hall meeting, COVID-19 radio, Cabinet Report, creation of the Laging Handa COVID-19 website, production of Balita Central digital tabloid, and the dismiss disinformation campaign.
Secretary Andanar, who is the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security of Region 10 (CORDS X), has been regularly engaging with local chief executives in the region to discuss COVID-19 responses of the localities.
The creation of the CODE Team is a response initiative to provide support to local government units (LGUs) with limited capabilities and resources, in order to mitigate localized transmission through enhanced surveillance strategy and expanded testing capacity.
Other key officials who joined the dialogue were Senator Miguel Zubiri, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Department of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Usec. Jonathan Malaya.
From only about 30 active cases in September, Bukidnon has reported an alarming spike of more than 300 cases of COVID-19 in October due to community transmission. This prompted the local government to seek further intervention from the national government to contain the spread of the virus.
Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri expressed his concerns on the impacts of the pandemic, noting that Bukidnon is an active agricultural province. It is known as the rice bowl, and fruit and vegetable basket of Northern Mindanao and is the fourth largest province of the Philippines.
“The best policy that we ever chose was this one. Let us invite the experts. We invited the best that we can have in this country into analyzing and maybe sacrificing finding a solution, maybe not to stop completely but at least to minimize or stop the expansion of the virus in our province,” he said.
“We are the heart of Mindanao. That is why it is necessary to find the solution to cure the heart of Mindanao, to stop it in case it will spread out to other provinces,” he added.