Quarantine’s a beach

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Sometimes, it takes a crisis to reveal the worst and the best in people.

We have seen private individuals initiating production of 3D protective masks, of people launching food and milk drives, or volunteers braving the front lines all to fight an invisible yet deadly enemy.

The beach house is a project aimed to supplement the existing quarantine facilities of the province in case they get too congested. | Photo from Councilor Tupas FB page
The beach house is a project aimed to supplement the existing quarantine facilities of the province in case they get too congested. | Photo from Councilor Tupas FB page

In the case of Hinobaan, Councilor Jason Tupas, the chairperson of the Sangguniang Bayan’s Committee on Health as well as the liaison officer for the Inter-Agency Task Force, had been burning the midnight oil as he jumps from one affected barangay to the next, distributing relief goods, and medical supplies.

Now, Jason did one better by scouting, and finding an acceptable quarantine facility for returning residents of the southernmost town in Negros Occidental.

Councilor Jason Tupas with resort owner Bimbo Cabalde.
Councilor Jason Tupas with resort owner Bimbo Cabalde.

Amid criticisms against the other LGUs on the apparent lack of suitable facilities for repatriated Negrenses, Councilor Tupas was able to forge a deal with the Cabalde family – led by Bimbo, Alyana, and former Vice-Mayor Binggot — to rent their beach house in order to serve as temporary quarantine facility for repatriated residents of Hinobaan.

As of this writing, the 10-bed capacity beach house is now undergoing preps to make it quarantine ready, including the installation of “isolation cubicles” within the resort.

The idea came up when the local authorities thought there is a need to provide returning residents with a suitable quarantine facility.

“After the transition to a General Community Quarantine, we thought that a lot of people will be going home to Hinobaan,” Jason tells DNX.

Jason says there were already preparations for an evacuation site, but because the status of the province had been downgraded to a GCQ, Hinobaan’s local authorities decided to come up with immediate measure to quarantine returning residents in a facility “conducive for them”.

“I asked [Mayor Ernesto Estrao] to start the negotiation,” he reveals.

The facility, the councilor says, serves as contingency measure in case the existing quarantine facilities of the province get congested.

Quarantine-ready. The beach house has a 10-bed capacity. Isolation tents have beem set up beside the structure. | Photo from Jason Tupas FB page
Quarantine-ready. The beach house has a 10-bed capacity. Isolation tents have beem set up beside the structure. | Photo from Jason Tupas FB page

The councilor further stresses that this does not supplant the existing facilities of the province.

“All returning residents of Hinobaan must first go through with the repatriation process as Provincial Government of Negros Occidental,” he says in an earlier public service announcement.

Tiled toilets, such as this one, are among the facilities offered in the beach house. | Photo from Councilor Tupas FB page
Tiled toilets, such as this one, are among the facilities offered in the beach house. | Photo from Councilor Tupas FB page

These returning residents, he adds, could not directly go home unless they have been cleared by the province.

Hinobaan’s efforts have shown how a town’s size is not an indication of its quality of service.  What is needed is the heart for service.

“We might be small,” he adds, “but our service sure rocks.”

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