Davao City cases up due to more testing, Mayor Duterte says
This May 21, 2020 photo shows Davao International Airport
City Government of Davao

Davao City cases up due to more testing, Mayor Duterte says

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - June 14, 2021 - 1:19pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6 p.m.) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Monday said the spike in coronavirus cases in the city is a result of increased testing efforts for the pathogen. 

The mayor was responding to comments by Vice President Leni Robredo, who said Davao City — President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown — could look at best practices in Cebu City's handling of a rise in COVID-19 cases there last year.

"She should open her eyes to the surge of cases in localities all around the world and she might be able to say that a surge in cases where 85% of the cases are asymptomatic is primarily identified by aggressive testing, coupled with tracing and isolation/quarantining," Duterte-Carpio, the president's daughter, said. 

This came after Davao City overtook Quezon City, the largest city in the Philippines, in coronavirus cases earlier this month, according to the OCTA Research Group. 

In a statement sent to the media, Duterte-Carpio slammed Robredo for earlier comments about how the city was faring against another wave of coronavirus cases as of late. 

"This has been the hallmark of her term as [vice president], where she puts forth comments on matters and affairs she lacks understanding and knowledge on and does not offer anything helpful to solve a problem," she said.

As early as March of last year, the Department of Health also said that the surge in coronavirus cases that has led to lockdowns in the capital and in nearby areas was only a result of better testing capabilities. 

In a statement sent to reporters later Wednesday, Barry Gutierrez, Robredo's spokesperson, lamented that the vice president was "being dragged into politics."

He pointed to Robredo's track record in places like the provinces of Cebu and Palawan and in Tuguegaro City in Cagayan province that the vice president has visited over the coronavirus pandemic. 

"It was not for a photo op or a tarp or to rub elbows with the politicians in control of those areas. The vice president went there, listened to the people on the ground, looked for immediate as well as long-term solutions to what they were going through," he said in Filipino. 

"She has been doing this ever since just to help. VP is game to do the same in Davao — unless it will be given political color."

It was OCTA research that pointed to Davao City recording an average of 213 new cases per day in the first month of June, up by 44% from the average of 147 daily in the preceding week.

The research group cited figures by the Department of Health in making this observation. 

Robredo: Learn lessons from Cebu City

On her radio show on Sunday morning, Robredo cited this statistic and said that Davao City could take a few tips from the experience of Cebu City in arresting coronavirus cases, particularly the partnerships of the medical community in the city.

"For me, it might help for them to look at what happened in Cebu. Because even though cases are spiking, it looks like things are controlled there, right?" Robredo said in Filipino. 

"A lot has been done — the partnerships there, not just with LGU but the medical community are very active. In fact when we went, we were really able to work with the medical community, they were very, very active there."

Robredo on her radio show did not comment on the mayor or her leadership.

 "The VP should avoid involving the COVID-19 surge in Davao City in her attempt at politicking. There will be a proper time to attack my performance as a [local chief executive] in this pandemic if she dares to run for President," Duterte-Carpio said.

Robredo was recently named among those on the 1Sambayan coalition's list of possible presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2022 polls. Neither the mayor nor Robredo have made any definite announcements about their plans for the 2022 elections. 

Davao City, the hometown of the chief executive, has since been tagged by experts as an area of concern outside of Metro Manila.  

Even the national government has said it wants to see if it can learn from the policies implemented by the Cebu provincial government, which has been under a more relaxed modified general community quarantine in the past 10 months.

RELATED: DOH: No 'mass testing', just 'risk-based testing' to get more people tested

Statistic: Rate of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests performed in the most impacted countries worldwide as of June 1, 2021 (per million population)* | Statista

According to data from Statista, the Philippines is in the bottom five in testing per million population among the world's most impacted countries. 

Amid calls for mass testing, President Duterte's government continues to assert that no country in the world is capable of testing all its citizens. 

Mass testing, however, does not mean testing the entire population of the country. 

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