Western Visayas LGUs urged to utilize COVID-19 heat maps

ILOILO CITY—Regional Director Ro-Ann Bacal of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-6) is urging local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas region to utilize heat maps of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases as a means of keeping the business industry safe.

Daily activities still go on despite Iloilo City being placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) due to rising local cases of COVID-19. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“A heat map is very valuable to businessmen and traders,” Bacal told The Manila Bulletin.

NEDA-6 is the leading agency working for the economic recovery of Western Visayas in a time when locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 have surged over a period of a month.

The rise of local COVID-19 cases started in Bacolod City in July.

By August, the regional capital of Iloilo City saw that the fast-paced spread of local COVID-19 cases was attributable to infections at the fish port and call centers. The national government reverted the city back to general community quarantine (GCQ) status last August 16 when almost 200 cases were recorded in a period of a week.

“We cannot lockdown the entire city. That’s why we need the heat map for businessmen to know which areas they can still trade or avoid,” Bacal said.

So far, the Iloilo City government, under Mayor Jerry Treñas, has already started using heat maps.

“Other LGUs should follow the initiative of Iloilo City,” Bacal added.

She particularly noted that flow of goods and services should not be hampered, but precautionary measures must also be in place to avoid COVID-19 infections spreading in other areas of Panay or Negros Island.