Bacolod mayor updates business sector on anti-COVID measures

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and other city officials met with leaders of the Filipino-Chinese business community Wednesday, 15 April, to update them on the city’s anti-COVID actions and how they can support the city’s efforts to protect the city from the spread of COVID-19.

The meeting, held at the Bacolod City Government Center, also discussed the concerns of businessmen affected by the city’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Leonardia was accompanied by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who chairs the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19; Councilor Cindy Rojas, who is also the vice chair of the IATF; Councilors Israel Salanga, Archie Baribar, and Bartolome Orola; City Administrator Em Ang; and City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan.

In the meeting, businessman James Chua lauded the move of Leonardia on the number coding scheme for Home Quarantine Pass (HQPs) as this will help reduce the number of people roaming the streets daily.

All in all, the barangays have issued about 150,000 HQPs. That means some 150,000 potential virus carriers are out in the streets everyday who may bring home the virus to vulnerable members of their families. But with the odd-even number coding, the use of the HQPs will be reduced from seven days in a week to only three days in a week. With that, the risks of bringing home the infection is cut in half.

The management of BREDCO also lauded the Bacolod City officials, employees, frontliners and volunteers in battling the pandemic. BREDCO director Willy Au pledged a personal donation of P500,000 to the city to be used in this anti-COVID fight.

The mayor said he understands that this is a challenging time for the business community, knowing that COVID-19 has affected their businesses and livelihood, but their cooperation and support to the city and the Bacolodnons have not gone unnoticed.

Leonardia reported to the business sector that there has been no new positive COVID cases for Bacolod City from 2 April to 15 or for a period of 13 days.

However, test results of 88 specimens sent to the DOH bio-laboratory at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City are still being awaited.

Leonardia also reported that the city government is donating P20 million to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital for a biolaboratory testing facility, which would be operational in 45 to 60 days. This facility will increase the testing capacity of Western Visayas since the Iloilo biolaboratory can process only about 100 specimens in a 12-hour shift. Even if that is doubled, the capacity would still be too small to service the whole region.

Also in the works is a “Swabmobile” vehicle to enable the City Health Office to travel to barangays to swab PUIs and PUMs, especially those at risk for having been exposed to COVID-positive patients as revealed by contact-tracing.

The mayor also underscored the importance of precautionary measures against COVID such as staying at home, observing social distancing, and wearing of facial masks.

The mayor quoted a statement of the Philippine Medical Association: “The virus will stop spreading if all people stop moving.” */CITY PIO

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