EXCLUSIVE: Capitol used “old data” in declaring hot zones, some LGU officers say list cause confusion, fear, panic; even vice-guv says he doesn’t know what a “hot zone” is

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By Hannah A. Papasin and Julius D. Mariveles

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Capitol used old data on the number of COVID19 Persons Under Monitoring (PUM and PUI) in 32 towns and cities in the province, some of which were placed under “hot zones.”

The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2019.
The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2020.

DNX conducted an independent verification by cross-referencing the hot list drawn up by Capitol with the records of health offices of towns and cities that were posted on their official Facebook pages.

It revealed inconsistencies between the LGU figures to that of Capitol.

The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2019.
The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2020.

On top of the inconsistencies in the figures, Raymond Gerard Rallos, over-all coordinator of the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams in Himamaylan City, said they were puzzled about the term “hot zone” that is not included in the alert levels of the Departmemt of Health, and appears to be not defined by any local or national executive order.

The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2019.
The original hot zone list Capitol released to media 30 March 2020.

He pointed out to DNX that there are only three levels as defined under existing proclamations.

These are General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), and Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine (EECQ).

Both the city and the province went under ECQ since yesterday, 30 March 2020.

Rallos said the Capitol declaration has caused worry, alarm, and varying levels of panic for residents in the identified villages.

He pointed out to DNX the data used by Capitol was at least three weeks old and looked “alarming” at face value.

Had the Capitol checked, they will find out the actual numbers have gone down, he added.

DON’T KNOW

Rallos said he inquired with the Provincial Health Office the parameters for placing an area under a “hot spot” alert but was told by an official that “they don’t know.”

Vice-Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, told DNX, he was also informed by some LGU officials that the basis for the declaration was old data reported by the LGUs.

“I told these officials to ask Capitol to correct the data,” he said.

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