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By: Eleanor Valeros, Mylen Manto | Published Thursday, June 11, 2020

Tracing and isolation of those exposed to those positive of Covid-19 in Cebu Province will now be limited to the first-generation contacts who are family members living on the same house and close colleagues at work.

A memorandum on the new health protocol will be issued to the local government units under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government. 

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia finds it ridiculous to lockdown an entire barangay or a ‘sitio’ (sub-village) when the Province is already in General Community Quarantine, citing an incident in Moalboal wherein a chairman of a mountain barangay called for a lockdown.

“Let us not overreact kay dili na man ta ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” Garcia pointed out.

“Mismo si DOH Regional Director Jaime Bernadas miingon na nga first-generation contact lang. Mao ray atong unahon pag-isolate. Dili na tibuok barangay kay dili na na makataronganon, dili na na sakto,” she said, adding that lockdowns did “more harm than good.”

Under ECQ, lockdowns can be implemented when a certain locality has two Covid-19 cases.

“Let’s start being realistic about this. Kini atong kahadlok wa na mabutang sa lugar. Unya ra ba ang epekto ana, ang kwarta sa lungsod dili na sad mabutang sa lugar dili na magasto sa lugar, sigeg gasto aron isustiner aning gipang-lockdown, dili na na mao, kay duna tay responsibilidad nga momlambo ang lungsod, naa pay imprastraktura nga angay gastohan,” she accentuated.

“Ang inyong 20-percent Development Fund dili na ninyo ipang-realign tungod lang sa kahadlok nga wala na mahabutang sa lugar,” Garcia told mayors.

Moalboal Mayor Paz “Lingling” Rozgoni sought advice from the governor as a barangay captain called for a lockdown of a mountain barangay wherein a family member who gave birth was found positive of Covid-19.

The call for a lockdown happened in a meeting last June 5, Friday.

Rozgoni said that she denied the request knowing that lockdowns only happen when a place is under ECQ risk classification.

“Usa ra na ka pamilyahan nga duna’y 12 ka bata, unya lisud kaayo if i-lockdown nimo kay 78 households na diha tanan, 440 ka tawo,” Rozgoni said.

She added that a lockdown would cost the local government P1.6 million while isolation of first-generation contacts would only cost P140,000.

Further, Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, one of the guests in Garcia’s June 10 virtual presser, shared how hard it was when fear dominates over common sense in dealing with Covid-19 cases.

“Ako sad nahadlok sad ko pag-ayo maong naka-lockdown gyud mig barangay adtong pag-ECQ, kadtong duna na mi positive case,” Cho said.

“Thanks to the guidance of Gov Gwen we can now deal with Covid intellectually,” she added.

Focus on active cases

Garcia appealed to Department of Health (DOH) 7 to “report on active cases only” to remove the presumption that Cebu Province has a growing number of cases.

This is after League of Municipalities in the Philippines-Cebu President and Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco asked DOH 7 to review and check the veracity of the health information first before the residence is credited.

Frasco said that information must faithfully reflect the cases in a town as false representation may affect the appeal of the Province to transition to MGCQ.

She cited a case wherein a newborn was found to be positive of Covid-19 and yet has not even set foot in Liloan. However, the residence was credited to Liloan.

Patrick Liporada, DOH representative, said that the case could have been based on what the parent disclosed through the health declaration form.

Department of Tourism Regional Director Shahlimar Tamano concurred that “reporting of active cases only” helps straighten out the confusion on cases especially that quite a number of tourists cannot determine Cebu City from Cebu Province.

“Affected man ang tourism kay ig-search sa turista ang mo-reflect ang daghang cases sa Cebu,” he said. (Eleanor Valeros and Mylen Manto)