By Gabriela Baron
Deemed instrumental to combating the spread of COVID-19, the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) announced that its demographic vulnerabilities tool (DVT) will now be used by local government units (LGUs) to implement and assess pandemic response.
A joint memorandum circular (JMC), signed by the Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Governament (DILG), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and POPCOM on April 30, stipulates the initial release of the DVT to all LGUs in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
POPCOM regional offices will also provide key demographic indicators to LGUs in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“The tool can be used to accelerate or decelerate physical distancing measures in areas with high number of confirmed, suspect, or probable cases, as well as high-density areas, including households with high numbers of vulnerable members such as senior citizens living in houses measuring less than 20 square meters,” POPCOM Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III said in a press release.
LGUs’ DVT use
Perez noted that the DVT can also be utilized to identify priority groups and areas for relief and support operations in households. The tool can be used to pinpoint residences with senior citizens, seniors living alone, and vulnerable households needing specialized support.
“It can also be instrumental in determining better locations of quarantine sites, such as those in areas with low population density,” he added.
Perez said DVT data can be validated, verified, or merged with existing records of barangays, such as their Community-Based Monitoring Systems (CBMS) or the Registry of Barangay Inhabitants and Migrants (RBIM).
“For instance, to provide more specific services for elderlies residing in small housing units, their numbers can be determined through the CBMS or RBIM,” he said.
Mobilization and activation
Local chief executives may activate their local contact tracing teams, including health and population offices, to assist and supervise epidemiological and population-related tasks.
“The local chief executives need to ensure their proper support for the LCTT’s safety and health at all times while they are in the field,” Perez said.
He added that the JMC and its provisions are a game-changer in the government’s fight against COVID-19.
“For an enemy that we can’t see, we need to employ an intangible yet equally important means to defeat the virus, which is accurate information about our people, especially those most vulnerable. Cure can come by outsmarting the virus, one household at a time,” he said.