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Gov: Don’t single out Cebu
By: Vanessa Almeda, Mylen Manto | Published Friday, January 29, 2021
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia with IPHO Chief Dra. Christina Giango and Consolacion Mayor Johanes Alegado during a press conference in Consolacion town hall. (Junjie Mendoza)

The Department of Health, the media and health experts should analyze the data correctly when reporting on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

This was the challenge Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia posed to them during a press conference Friday afternoon, January 29, disagreeing with the findings from a research group that the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Cebu has become a ‘serious concern’.

According to the governor, the “obsession” with the total number of cases and presenting these figures without the proper context need to stop.

Garcia was reacting to a report by the OCTA Research Group. She said the report does not give a clear picture of the Covid-19 situation in the province.

"There is an obsession about reporting totals. Fine. But ipha pila ang cases gikan January 1 to January 28. Don't lump Cebu City with Cebu Province," she said.

Between January 1 and 28, there are 45,892 Covid-19 cases logged nationwide. Of this number, Cebu Province, with a population of 3.2 million, only recorded 767 cases or 1.7 percent of the total number of cases.

Comparing that data with Baguio City with 1,115 cases or 2.4 percent of 45,892 and with a population of 372,791; Davao City with 2,618 cases, or 5.7 percent with a population of 1.82 million; and Quezon City, with 1,971 cases, or 4.3 percent with a population of three million, all posted higher numbers than Cebu Province.

"So why are we singled out? Yes, granting there is a rise, but analyze the numbers first. Ang datos," Garcia said. "These areas have far more cases and higher percentage than Cebu, but why only Cebu has been highlighted?" she asked.

The governor said health protocols have long been in place and are being implemented in the Province.

“Kami diri sa Cebu wa mi ma-concern. Nahibaw na ang mga mayors unsaon pag handle kining Covid-19 because it’s not a matter of closing down the economy and locking down people just because of Covid-19. It’s a matter of managing,” Garcia said.

Garcia reiterated the occupancy rate of isolation centers in the province’s 44 municipalities and six cities is less than 20 percent.

Of Cebu Province’s 499 active cases as of January 28, 189 are asymptomatic and 228 are mild asymptomatic. All are in isolation.

“What is cause for concern is our devastated economy. What is cause for concern is that thousands upon thousands upon thousands have lost their business, have lost their jobs and have lost their livelihoods. What is cause for concern is when there will just be too many people who will go hungry and when hunger goes to the head, criminality will rise and we will have chaos on the streets. That’s the cause of my concern,” Garcia said.

The governor reminded the public that there are other diseases that need to be addressed like tuberculosis, rubella, polio and measles, among others. 

“Ngano mao man ni ang gisigihan og focus. Nakalimot man ta nga daghan kaayo ron natong kaigsuonang Sugbuanon ang naglisud dili tungod sa Covid, dili tungod kay naglisud og ginhawa tungod sa Covid, naglisud og ginhawa kay wa nay gikaon,” she said. 

Cebu is moving on and moving forward, Garcia said. “We are not living in a perfect world. There are diseases and there are diseases. The way to fight the diseases, including Covid-19, is to boost one’s immune system,” she said.

Based on national statistics, Covid-19 has a recovery rate of over 90 percent and a mortality rate of less than two percent. (Vanessa L. Almeda, Mylen P. Manto)