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By: Mylen Manto, Vanessa Almeda | Published Tuesday, June 16, 2020
From June 16 until June 30, Talisay City will be on Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) while the rest of Cebu Province remains on General Community Quarantine (GCQ) as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 15. (Tonee Despojo/File Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday night, June 15 that Cebu Province, along with the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, remains to be under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from June 16 until June 30, 2020.

Meanwhile, Cebu City has been reverted to Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and Talisay City on Modified ECQ (MECQ).

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the decision came after seeing the “spike in new coronavirus cases and widespread community transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).”

Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas admitted he was surprised to learn of the latest pronouncement as other cities with higher number of cases than that of Talisay were placed under GCQ.

In an interview, Gullas shared he called Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against Covid-19, to clarify the basis of the decision.

“Nangutana ko unsay basis sa decision, it was the data given by the DOH. I saw the data being posted in Facebook today then one of the main reasons is because we have zero recoveries in Talisay City,” he said.

Gullas clarified that Talisay City has 43 recoveries, 59 active cases, and 16 deaths. He intends to correct the data given by the DOH. 

“So hopefully I’ll bring this data up with the DOH with the help of Gov (Governor Gwen Garcia), maybe they can look up with the new data because when they made the decision, we have zero recoveries,” he explained.

Though advised to appeal the decision, the mayor said he has to consult first with the Talisay City Government, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, and other leaders that can help him in his decision.

In his Facebook page, Gullas believed that the 16 deaths recorded “played a big role” in the IATF-MEID’s decision. 

Meanwhile, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said she had initial discussions with the regional co-chairs of the regional IATF on taking some steps in order "to do justice" to the quarantine status of Talisay City.

In her meeting with Gullas Tuesday morning, Garcia said she learned about the "erroneous data" on the recoveries in Talisay City that was reportedly the basis for reverting the city to MECQ.

The data came from a post of Special Adviser to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Dr. Tony Leachon, who said that the city had zero recoveries. 

"I've already initially discussed this with both Director (Leocadio) Trovela (of the Department of the Interior and Local Government) and DOH Director Bernadas and we are thinking of some steps to take, to do justice pud ba," the governor said. 

She said the erroneous data may have resulted to the decision. 

Garcia said in the past, the classifications were based on status of each city (like the tri-cities) and the province as a whole -- meaning, no component city of the province was given a separate classification, only now.

"But possibly because of that erroneous data provided by Dr. Tony Leachon," she added.

The governor will be meeting the mayors on Wednesday, June 17 and the status of Talisay City will be part of the discussion.  (Mylen Manto, Vanessa L. Almeda)