By Minka Klaudia Tiangco, Jel Santos, and Betheena Unite
A fund to provide meals to families who will be affected by the month-long lockdown in Metro Manila; an appeal for residents to limit their movements; disinfecting facilities including lifevests; and appeal to trust God. These are among the many efforts that government and church leaders made after the President announced the raising of the alert level to Code Red Sublevel 2 Thursday night after a lengthy cabinet meeting.
In Manila, the city government allocated P227.5-million to provide meals to thousands of families who may be affected by the month-long Metro Manila lockdown from March 15 to April 14 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19).
Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said during his city address on Friday that about 350,000 families will be given meals thrice a day should the situation worsen.
Furthermore, the city government has a supply of 105,600 canned goods; 81,600 bottled water; and 6,600 packs of 3 kilograms of rice, that can be distributed to families in need.
Vitamin C and B Complex supplements will also be acquired by the city government for senior citizens living in Manila, the city mayor added.
Domagoso also said that a P12.9-million fund was allocated to acquire more disinfection equipment for hospitals in the Philippine capital.
Six units of disinfection systems worth P4.2 million, three units of air purification machines worth P7.5 million, and 196 bottles of disinfection solution worth P1.2 million were purchased by the city government, the local chief executive said.
The Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMO) regularly conducts misting operations in places with heavy foot traffic in the city for airborne and pavement disinfection. So far, the MDRRMO has led misting operations in the Manila City Hall, along the University belt, public hospitals, 16 out of 17 public markets, and Quiapo Church.
The local government unit (LGU) of Taguig City urged its residents to limit their movements in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
“We are asking all citizens and stakeholders of the city to limit movements to essential travel and emergencies. Limiting movement is not mandatory but it is highly suggested as we believe that the National Capital Region is ultimately interlinked as families often have one member working or studying in a nearby city. This infection, in one National Capital Region (NCR) city, affects all cities,” the city government said.
Citing the data of the Department of Health (DOH), Taguig said it has only one confirmed case of COVID-19.
It also urged those working in Taguig but living outside the city to make arrangements with their employers “as entry and exit to NCR will be limited based on President Duterte’s orders on the suspension of travel to and from Metro Manila.”
“For businesses, offices, and workspaces based in the city, we ask that you prepare work-from-home options and other flexible arrangements that would keep your workers from interacting with other people. Keep your workers interacting at a minimal level.”
Sanitizing motorbancas, lifejackets
Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is preparing to disinfect passenger ships, including life jackets to keep travelers safe against the virus.
All district units under the organization were directed to implement massive sanitation of motorbancas, passenger ships, and lifejackets as a precautionary measure against the dreaded disease.
“We receive concerns from regular motorbanca passengers about the cleanliness and safety of lifejackets handed over to them for usage. Hence, we directed our personnel to ensure that lifejackets are sanitized before and after usage to protect the health of the riding public,” said Commodore Armando Balilo, Cast Guard spokesman.
Daily sanitation of motorbancas, as well as the availability of hand sanitizers or alcohol at port terminals will also be monitored by Coast Guard men on site.
PCG safety inspectors were also directed to implement regular sanitation of passenger ships, specifically on areas that are usually occupied by the riding public and crew members.
Port state control officers, on the other hand, had been instructed to continue massive monitoring of foreign vessels coming from China, Macau, Hong Kong, and other COVID-19 infected countries.
‘Put our trust in God’
The faithful were urged yesterday to put their “trust in God more” amid the lockdown imposed in Metro Manila.
In his homily during a mass held at the Our Lady of Veritas Chapel in Quezon City, Rev. Fr. Arlo Yap cited the need for the public to heed the advice of the experts on protecting oneself from the viral disease.
“The best thing to do in these times is to trust in God’s merciful heart more as we listen to the recommendations of the expert against COVID-19,” the priest said.
“Let us wash our hands often. Use 70 percent alcohol or hand sanitizer, and follow the guidelines set by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines for churchgoers,” Yap added.
“Let us raise our hopes and put our trust in our loving God. Don’t give up your faith,” he said.
The priest urged the faithful to follow the orders of the authorities and to pray more for the safety and protection of the Filipino people. (With a report from Christina I. Hermoso)
Read more: ‘Put our trust in God more” — prelate