Olivarez welcomes 'big brother' Galvez to oversee COVID-19 response in Parañaque

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez welcomed the designation of National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, Jr. to oversee the implementation of the government’s National Action Plan against COVID-19 in the city.

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez (FACEBOOK/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We welcome Secretary Galvez as our “big brother” in the fight against the pandemic,” Olivarez said on Friday (Aug. 14), adding that the city government has been exercising transparency in reporting of COVID-19 cases for the past five months.

Olivarez pointed out that their coordination with the national government will be easier because there is now a particular cabinet secretary in charge of Parañaque, while others have been assigned to oversee other local government units (LGUs).

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), through Resolution No. 62, said Cabinet members will oversee the implementation and compliance of LGUs with quarantine guidelines, monitor the status of the area’s healthcare system, and ensure smoother communication between the local government and national government.

Galvez on Thursday explained that Cabinet members will serve as "big brothers" and "big sisters" to local chief executives in the fight against the pandemic.

Cabinet members were assigned to the cities where they live and tasked to give LGU officials support from the national government.However, some senators remain unconvinced that this move will be effective. Win Gatchalian said it just adds "another layer of bureaucracy" and that it would be faster for LGU officials to contact Galvez directly, while Nancy Binay questioned the competence of cabinet secretaries to support LGUs.

Read more: Senators reject plan to assign Cabinet men to NCR cities

Galvez said last week that Parañaque can be considered a model city in its pandemic response for its unity of effort and systematic workflow, saying: “When you are united, you will win the war.”

The city government has been conducting aggressive testing and tracing amid the continuing increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

“The strategies are really working and they are already implementing it at the barangay level. They know where to address the problem,” Galvez said during his visit with top health department officials at the city hall.

Parañaque has recorded 3,363 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, based on the city health office's latest data.

Olivarez commended the city health office personnel for the decrease in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the city, from 876 on Aug. 4 to 651 on Aug. 13, nine days after Metro Manila reverted to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), which lasts until Aug. 18.

Olivarez, who is the incumbent chairman of the Metro Manila Council (MMC), said it is possible that NCR will return to general community quarantine (GCQ) status after Aug. 18 if the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decrease.

He claimed that the implementation of MECQ has been effective in the NCR.

Starting Monday next week (Aug. 17), Olivarez said members of the city council, health officials, and city COVID Task Force will accompany Galvez in visiting isolation facilities and conducting meetings with barangay officials to discuss how to contain the spread of the virus.

He added that they will also discuss with Galvez how to implement new approaches to lower the number of COVID-19 cases should the metropolis return to GCQ status next week.