8 baragays still on ECQ

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  At least eight barangays in Cebu City remain on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) even as the city and the rest of Cebu have transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ) yesterday, June 1.

These include Barangays Luz, Bacayan, Carreta, Sawang Calero, Suba, Tejero, Labangon, and Mambaling.

They remain under ECQ per recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) – 7 owing to the number of COVID-19 cases there.

Of the eight, six still have areas under lockdown like Barangay Luz.

“Lockdown gyud gihapon mi unya akoy luoy na kaayo ani, akong gi-blame sa tanan nganong lockdown daw gihapon mi. Ordinaryo nga tawo ra tawn ko, di ko high-ranking official,” its captain, Ronilo Sab-a, told The Freeman.

(We are still on lockdown and I’m at a disadvantage because everyone is blaming me for it. I’m just an ordinary person, I’m not a high-ranking official.)


Sab-a said he is now considering taking a leave of absence or stepping down as barangay captain as he now fears for his security because of the threats he has been receiving reportedly because of the “long overdue” lifting of the lockdown at the barangay.

Luz is on lockdown for almost two months now despite having over 100 residents having already recovered from COVID-19.

“I have been doing my best, pero at the end, ako gihapo’y bati,” Sab-a said.

(I have been doing my best but I end up the bad guy.)

For example, residents of sitio Zapatera who are quarantine pass holders are allowed to go out of the area only if they have been tested and found negative of COVID-19.

In Barangay Mambaling, which has the most number of cases, those who were reported to have already recovered from COVID-19 remain at the Barangay Isolation Center, said barangay captain Gines Abellana.

Abellana said the photo of those who have recovered, which was posted on the Facebook page of Mayor Edgardo Labella, was just for “show” because the patients, as of yesterday, have not received a certification that they have already tested negative for the disease.

“Lockdown gihapon (entire barangay) kay wa may order from the mayor nga i-lift ang lockdown. I have written a letter to the mayor dated May 27,2020 and received on the same day, but we have not yet received any response on such request to lift,” Abellana said.

(The entire barangay is still on lockdown because there is no order to lift the lockdown. I have a letter to the mayor dated May 27, 2020, which was received on the same day, but I have not received any response on the request to lift.)

He said he also tried to reach Labella through text but got no response.

At least 16 sitios in Mambaling are affected by the lockdown and Abellana said the barangay is having a difficult time providing food for them. The residents themselves now fear of losing their jobs.

Tejero is also on ECQ and the barangay has already requested the city government to lift the lockdown on several sitios, pointing out that 90 percent of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 have already recovered.

Barangay Captain Boyek Galang said he made the decision to pull patients who have already recovered out of the isolation center because there was reportedly no proper communication from the city government.

The barangay also passed a resolution lifting the lockdown in the barangay.

 “Muana pa pan gani sila’g nganong naa na koy update unya sila wala. That is why kanina, we made a resolution recommending the lifting of the lockdown in the barangay na kay luoy kaayo ni sila, walay assistance,” Galang said yesterday.

(They even question me why I have updates and they don’t, that is why we decided to come up with a resolution lifting the lockdown in the barangay because we pity the residents because they have not been getting assistance.)

 Labangon, for its part, is still on ECQ but Barangay Captain Vic Buendia decided to lift the lockdown last Sunday.

“I had to decide on my own kay ang mayor busy kaayo, di siya maka-look sa problema sa tanang barangay so kita as barangay captain, kitay nakahibalo sa sitwasyon sulod sa atong barangay,” he said.

(I had to decide on my own because the mayor is so busy; he can’t be dealing with the problems of all barangays. Also, as barangay captains, we know the situation in our barangays.)


Buendia said he asked consent from the City Health Office to release patients who have been isolated for a month even if their test results have not been released because they have not shown any symptom.

Buendia said he had to make the decisions for his barangay because he is afraid that residents will have to deal with depression, as well.

“Sige’g text nga mura na silad mabuang. Kung ako pa ning dugayon, masin ako nay mabuang,” Buendia said.

(They keep on texting me that they are going crazy. If we keep it like this, I may be the one who will lose my mind.)

He said he also considered stepping down, especially when the number of cases in his barangay started going up, but he decided to stay on.

“But no, you have decided as a barangay captain. Diha na na ma-test ang imong leadership. This crisis is really a test of our leadership,” he told The Freeman.

(You have to decide as barangay captain. That’s how you test your leadership. This crisis is really a test of our leadership.)

“Ako nang gi-lift ang lockdown pud sa sitio Callejon and ang ako na lang ani karon nga careful lang gyud mi nga di makasud ug balik ang COVID diri’s Labangon,” Buendia said.

(I lifted the lockdown in sitio Callejon and my only hope is for all of us here to be careful not to bring COVID-19 back to Labangon.)


Earlier, Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan of Guadalupe only asked permission from the City Health Department to lift the lockdown on sitio Cabajar.

Bacayan Captain Zenaida Colina also lamented the absence of clear guidelines in lifting the lockdown.

Colina said they already asked for go signal from the City Health Department but was told by the police the request had to be forwarded to the mayor’s office.

“Naa na mi order sa city health nga i-lift na ang lockdown, actually addressed to sa station commander, pero ingon nila muagi pa’s Battalion daw then adto pa’s office of the mayor, then from the mayor’s office, balik sa station sa police. Wala gyuy klaro ni,” Colina said.

(We have an order from the city health to lift the lockdown. It is addressed to the station commander but we were told it will have to go through the battalion then to the mayor’s office then to the police station. This is confusing.)

She said she decided to keep the lockdown as she does not want to be blamed in the event cases would go up again in her barangay. So far, all those who have tested positive in Bacayan have already recovered and only 10 others are for confirmatory test.

Like the other barangay captains, Colina feels bad she can only do as much and is very worried her constituents will be losing jobs.

The likes of Barangay Suba and Sawang Calero are also still on ECQ with Sawang Calero’s lockdown on one area to go on for at least half a month, said Barangay Captain Sergio Ocana.

Suba has not locked down any of its sitio due to lack of manpower.

Earlier, officials and residents of Carreta have also requested the city government to lift the lockdown on the barangay but have received no reply as of yesterday. They have asked the private sector, especially the businesses operating in the barangay, to help the barangay in these trying times. JMO (FREEMAN)

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