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By: Mylen Manto | Published Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Gov. Gwen Garcia meets with representatives of the different religious groups in Cebu to discuss some adjustments in the Province’s General Community Quarantine guidelines. (Lito Tecson)

Religious gatherings inside churches in the Province of Cebu are now allowed, although limited to only 10 persons at a time.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia amended on Tuesday, May 26, her Executive Order No. 17 establishing guidelines for the general community quarantine that prohibits religious gatherings.

Under the new EO No. 17-A, religious activities may now be done inside churches but limited to 10 persons, in accordance with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines. 

“Didto sa pirmiro nato nga EO nakabutang didto nga gi-prohibit nato ang religious gatherings, gi-allow lang pag-abli ang mga simbahan. Niining bag-o nga EO atong gi-allow, wala nato gi encourage, apan ugaling mag gathering sulod sa simbahan kutob ra og 10 ka tawo,” said Garcia.

The Province of Cebu had additional three Covid-19 cases last Tuesday. A total of 445 swabs were processed by the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC), of which 413 yielded negative, while 32 were positive. Of the 32 positive, three were from Cebu Province, 24 from Cebu City, three from Lapu-lapu City, and two from Mandaue City.

Of the three cases in the Province, one was from Malabuyoc town, a 59-year old dialysis patient. He stayed in Cebu City since April 23 but died on May 23, 2020. Another one was from San Fernando town, a 39-year old inmate; while the third was from Talisay City, a 46-year old man.

To determine if a person really died of Covid-19 or other diseases, Garcia requested the Department of Health (DOH) to qualify deaths and place it in a column for the Cebuanos to have a clearer perspective.

“Ni-agree na si Dr. Bernadas (DOH Regional Director Jaime Bernadas),” she said because Cebuanos deserve the truth, to cast away their fears.

Meanwhile, Governor Garcia attended the blessing and turnover ceremony on Tuesday, May 26, of the new quarantine facility in Cebu that would cater up to 130 Covid-19 patients.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of the Department of Health (DOH)-7, accepted the Bayanihan Cebu IEC Field Center as additional quarantine facility, located along Pope John Paul II Avenue, Cebu City. 

The DOH will run the said facility. 

Bernadas said hospitals are not enough to accommodate Covid patients, thus, the quarantine facility is of great help. He is grateful for the collaboration between the government and the private sector in battling the pandemic. 

“Thank you for your collaboration. I know we can win as one,” Bernadas said.
Bernadas, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, and Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to seal the ceremony.

Palma offered the IEC as infirmary and field hospital for Covid-19 and led the ceremonial blessing of the facility.

Edmun Liu, Bayanihan Cebu executive committee member, said the new quarantine facility is intended to help decongest hospitals from Covid-19 patients and to enable them to focus on more severe cases. 

The facility consists of technology that filters and cleans the air in each bay to ensure the safety of the patients, the frontliners, and the neighboring communities. 

The Bayanihan movement is a multi-sectoral partnership between OPAV; DOH-7; Regional Development Council-7; Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu; Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.; LH Foundation, Inc.; Society of Jesus of the Philippines; Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu; and Cebu Caritas, Inc.

Other top officials present were Mayors Edgardo Labella of Cebu City, Jonas Cortes of Mandaue City, and Junard “Ahong” Chan of Lapu-lapu City.  Also present were the heads of the Police Regional Office-7 and Armed Forces of the Philippines in Central Visayas. (Mylen P. Manto)