Cebu News

Cimatu to barangay captains: Step up or back to square one

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
Cimatu to barangay captains:  Step up or back to square one

CEBU, Philippines — Secretary Roy Cimatu has challenged barangay captains in Cebu City to step up and arrest the current rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city – or go back to square one.

“We have done it before. There is no reason we cannot do it now,” Cimatu was quoted as telling the barangay captains in a virtual meeting during which he told them to strengthen the implementation of existing health protocols at their level.

The Zoom meeting was also attended by Vice Mayor Michael Rama; Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center; Ret. Major General Melquiades Feliciano, IATF Visayas implementer: Dr. Peter Mancao; and a representative of City Administrator Floro Casas, Jr.

Rama, the chairman of the City Council’s committee on health, requested for Cimatu’s intervention following the spike in new COVID-19 cases in the city.

As of January 25, the Department of Health (DOH)-7 logged 955 cases for Cebu City, including 70 new cases.

The EOC, after verification, confirmed 942 cases.

The city has identified the 10 barangays with the most number of cases but Rama said it is best to include the other barangays in the meeting.

Cimatu has acknowledged the contribution of barangay captains in the success of the city’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve in 2020.

Even with the fresh challenge, Cimatu is reportedly confident the city can put a stop to the new rise in cases.

“Gi-challenge mi niya nga kung nahimo namo sauna, mahimo pud namo’g balik karon or else basin balik ta ani’s sinugdanan… although wa siya niingong lockdown, pero unsa man diay atong sinugdanan?” Guadalupe captain Michael Gacasan told The Freeman.

Gacasan said Cimatu told them to strengthen border controls, which Guadalupe has started doing on Sunday, January 24.

Guadalupe has the most number of active cases at 57, as of Tuesday.

“Naa na unta toy ni-graduate pito, napun-an na pud ug laing pito, 57 gihapon ning amoa karon apil na tong usa gyud kapamilyahan gatakod-takod, hasta bata gida nag-apil sa ginikanan sa quarantine center kay wala may makabantay,” Gacasan said.

From January 11 to 24, home transmission went up to 44.56 percent while outside transmission was at 55.43 percent.

Sources of transmission outside homes include workplaces, social gatherings, prison facilities, vacations, hospitals and medical frontliners, public markets and supermarkets, neighborhood transmission, eateries, mall strolling, inbound travelers, exposure to a probable and COVID-19 positive patient, delivery services, dialysis centers, visitors, processing documents, funerals, coffee shops, and the homeless.

With regard to homeless individuals, Barangay San Nicolas Captain Clifford Jude Ninal who has experience helping homeless individuals accepted the challenge of keeping an eye on these people but hopes the city government will take serious action on these people.

“Unta pud, seryosohon na nila (city government) ang paghipos aning mga homeless. Dakop-dakop, unya buhian ra gihapon, di man pud atimanon, balik ra gihapon sila sa agi,” Ninal said.

Feliciano, for his part, has reminded the barangay officials to follow the city’s COVID-19 “playbook” on how to contain the virus.

Rama also said that staffing at the EOC also needs to be addressed since the center has become undermanned since it loosened staffing when the number of cases in the city lowered last year. — JMO (FREEMAN)

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