Bacolod City will receive additional supply of protective gears, testing kits, and other essentials in containing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a press release from Bacolod PIO said.
“I have brought the five thousand sets of PPEs [personal protective equipment] intended for Bacolod, as promised,” said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, at a meeting with Bacolod City officials Wednesday.
Aside from the 5,000 PPE sets, the NTF will also send 5,000 test kits, 4,000 KN95 masks, 4,000 surgical masks, and one batch of automatic RNA extractor kits to Bacolod, Galvez added.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD] will also provide 10,000 masks for Bacolod.
DOH Assistant Secretary Charade Mercado-Grande said one PCR machine will be stationed at the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) Molecular Bio-laboratory.
Galvez and his team met with Mayor Evelio Leonardia, other City officials and members of the Emergency Operations Center Task Force at the Bacolod City Government Center Wednesday to discuss “coordinated operations to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Joining Galvez were two of the four anti-COVID-19 czars designated by President Rodrigo Duterte: Baguio City Mayor Benjamin “Benjie” Magalong—Chief Tracing Czar, and Health Undersecretary Leopoldo “Bong” Vega— Chief Treatment Czar.
Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino also supervised the meetings. Other officials were DPWH Undersecretary Emil Sadain, OPAPP Assistant Secretary Wilben Mayor, Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, commander of AFP Central Command; and IATF-Visayas chief deputy implementer Gen. Melquiades Feliciano.
During the meeting, city officials presented the COVID-19 Bacolod situationer and intervention strategy. According to Galvez, logistical efforts will primarily cover “where the center of gravity is.”
“Considering that most hospitals are in Bacolod, the people from the province will also be accommodated. It is also expected that Bacolod will get overwhelmed because it is the hub,” said Galvez.
Galvez said he is confident that the cases in Bacolod will decrease in no time, especially that Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Major General (Retired) Melquiades Feliciano, chief implementer of IATF-Visayas, are commissioned to help the City.
The team of Cimatu and Feliciano successfully curbed the local spread of COVID-19 in Cebu City after having been deployed there earlier this year. Cebu City was once dubbed as the COVID-19 epicenter in the country.
“It’s not magic. It just happened that there is unification (in Cebu City),” Galvez said.
Meanwhile, simultaneous with the meeting of EOC Task Force at the MassKara Hall was a Seminar on Contact Tracing at the Lobby.
Mayor Magalong addressed the about 170 participants, who are designated contact tracers of the City. The seminar was facilitated by the Bacolod City Health Office (CHO), in coordination with Mayor Magalong, Cebu City CHO, and Cebu City Police Office.
Later in the evening, Magalong met with the mayor and City officials, CHO doctors, and Bacolod City Police Office director Col. Henry Biñas, which lasted beyond midnight at the L’Fisher Hotel.
Galvez also stressed the importance of harmonizing Bacolod City’s efforts against COVID-19 with that of the Provincial Government.
The NTF head further informed that new guidelines now discourage home quarantine for asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 positive patients. These patients have to be moved to isolation facilities of the City.
In addressing the demand for more quarantine centers, Galvez told Councilor Novero, who heads the Quarantine Centers Action Team, “Give me a list of all the public schools that you would want to utilize; 50% of them can be used as quarantine facilities. Secretary Briones promised me that as long as there is a recommendation from me and Secretary Año, then it’s fine with her.”
The visit of the NTF and NIATF officials to Bacolod is to augment the City Government’s response against COVID-19 after Leonardia wrote President Rodrigo Duterte a letter appealing for urgent help to curb the spread of the deadly disease.
Malacañang then sent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu who also came to the City, IATF-Visayas chief implementer Major General (Retired) Melquiades Feliciano, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.
The said national officials have advised the City to implement a strategy similar to what was successfully applied in Cebu City to combat COVID-19 by initially organizing an Emergency Operations Center which shall undertake all the planning, operations, and coordination to contain the spread of coronavirus.
This Center has already been organized and is now operating 24/7 at the MassKara Hall of the Bacolod City Government Center.