The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will review the quarantine status of the Province of Cebu once Governor Gwendolyn Garcia submits a formal appeal.
Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Francisco Duque III assured this during the National IATF’s virtual press briefing on Tuesday, June 23.
Garcia earlier expressed her appeal to downgrade the Province into Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) during a meeting with National IATF officials, DOH-7 director Jaime Bernadas, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Micahel Dino, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas, Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 regional directot Police Brigadier General Albert Ignatius Ferro and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command Commander Lieutenant General Roberto Ancan.
“In our dialogue with the good governor, she has manifested that she will write a formal request or an appeal to look at certain areas that will certainly impact on the economic activities of the Province and that she would like the IATF to reconsider those areas especially the tourists’ haven if they can be de-escalated further to MGCQ,” Duque explained.
“So, I think this is an appeal that we will wholeheartedly address as a collegial body. No one in the IATF makes decision alone. So this is a collegial body and therefore, the way to address it is exactly in that way,” he added.
IATF-EID Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, Duque, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary (DILG) Eduardo Año, met with local officials to discuss the Covid-19 situation in Cebu Island.
Meanwhile, Garcia welcomed Cimatu who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, June 22 to oversee the government’s efforts in managing the Covid-19 crisis in Cebu.
“You’re very welcome to be with us and involve yourself in the Cebu situation,” Garcia stated.
Garcia also expressed her gratitude to the President for sending not just one but five secretaries to Cebu.
“I think that’s a clear indication of how much the President really values Cebu and values Secretary Mike Dino because I think this is upon the request also of our Presidential Assistant for the Visayas that the Cebu situation be looked into,” she said.
The presence of the Cabinet secretaries in Cebu gave the Cebuanos an opportunity to present a clearer picture of the Covid situation in Cebu, Garcia said.
“As governor, I believe it is my duty to emphasize that the situation in Cebu City may not exactly reflect what is the situation in the entire Province and I think we made that very clear in the meeting that we had earlier,” she said.
The governor further assured that to convey the Province’s appeal to have the areas with very little to zero cases be placed under MGCQ. (Mylen Manto)