So far, so good in Cebu City
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 16, 2020 - 12:00am

If there is some good news I recently read, it was that almost half of the 80 barangays in Cebu City have not had transmission of the coronavirus in the last 14 days. This was the result of daily monitoring of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This is in stark contrast to the situation in previous months when 76 barangays recorded cases. With 35 barangays having zero transmission, Councilor Joel Garganera, deputy chief implementer of the EOC, said only 45 barangays had active infections as of weekend.

To be totally honest about it, I really thought Cebu City would have been reverted to the general community quarantine (GCQ) on Sept. 15, simply because many people have finally left their homes and had lunch or dinner in restaurants open to the public. However, I did notice that many people were wearing face masks or shields and observing social distancing. I’m sure this helped a lot in assuring the public that we would not be spreading the coronavirus.

However, we cannot say this about the Province of Cebu, which has seen a rise in Covid-19 cases as reported by DOH-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche. Cebu Medical Society spokesperson Dr. Peter Mancao said cases in the province may see another surge if the residents remain to be complacent. Dr. Mancao based this opinion from the observation that many have not been following health protocols recently, which could be the reason for the rise in cases.

Based on DOH-7 data, Cebu City has 392 active cases, Mandaue has 248, and Lapu-Lapu City has 190.  Cebu province has 590 active cases. Negros Oriental, for its part, has 28 active cases, Bohol has 107, while Siquijor has zero cases.

Meanwhile, DOH-7 reported at least nine barangays in the city with 10 or more active cases. Barangay Apas has the most number of active cases at 52, including five new as of September 12. Of this number, 17 are admitted in hospitals while the rest are in isolation. Barangay Guadalupe, on the other hand, has 36 active cases, Talamban has 29, Bacayan has 23, Tisa has 24, Mabolo has 15, Basak Pardo and Labangon has 11 each, and Bulacao has 10. Again, I would like to reiterate that the coronavirus is still lurking around us, which is why we should take extra precaution to prevent the spread of this virus if we have to get out of our homes.

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Finally after a two-week lull, President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the filing of administrative and criminal complaints against Ricardo Morales, former CEO of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., and several of its senior officers following investigation conducted by Task Force PhilHealth. As reported by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte approved the panel’s recommendations, which include filing charges against several officers of the state insurer. Roque made the announcement after a portion of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) meeting was aired on state media.

During the IATF meeting, Duterte read part of the panel’s report that said that “the totality of evidence presented to them led to the conclusion that wrongful acts or omissions” on the part of certain key PhilHealth officers have been committed. Morales stepped down as PhilHealth president and CEO in late August, while the task force’s investigation was ongoing. He thanked the president for allowing him to resign so he could focus on his health and family.

Roque said the following officers, aside from Morales, will face charges: PhilHealth COO and executive vice president Arnel De Jesus. Senior Vice President, chief information officer Jovita Aragona, Senior Vice President on Fund Management Sector Renato Limsiaco Jr., and Senior Vice President on Health Finance Policy Sector Israel Francis Pargas. Roque also said that “OIC [Calixto] Gabuya” and a certain “Crisostomo” will face charges.

When monies reserved for the Filipino people are stolen by public officials, the least we can do is file the necessary cases against the perpetrators for the sake of justice for the Filipino people.

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