BACOLOD CITY – Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu emphasized the significant role barangay officials would be playing in locating the virus amid the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 cases here.
Cimatu, who was in Bacolod on Tuesday, met with the barangay officials, members of the COVID-19 technical working group, and medical directors, as part of the Office of the President’s response to Mayor Evelio Leonardia’s appeal for augmentation in view of the worsening COVID-19 situation here.
Cimatu, who has been credited for containing the COVID-19 outbreak in Cebu City, said that barangays with high numbers of COVID-19 cases here should be prioritized.
Based on the latest data from the City Health Office, the top 10 barangays with the highest number of cases are: Estefania with 100; Taculing with 77; Villamonte with 65; Banago with 62; Mansilingan and Mandalagan both with 61 cases; Alijis with 55 cases; Tangub with 46 cases; Bata with 39 cases; and Garanda with 38.
“This is where the role of village officials – especially barangay captains – comes in,” Cimatu said.
“The key here is to locate the virus [and thus identify] where we exert all our efforts,” he said, adding that this is the primary step towards effectively containing the spread of the COVID-19 disease,” he said.
“This is the game of the barangay captains,” he said, stressing that as elected officials, they were supposed to lead the people especially during this crisis.
For his part, Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF)-Visayas deputy chief implementer Gen. Melquiades Feliciano recommended a centralized command center where all clusters of the technical working group could meet every day to strengthen their collaboration.
“The focal person is the barangay captain,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Jean Leroche, chief pathologist of Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas, shared the best practices that helped curb the COVID-19 outbreak in Cebu City, emphasizing the collaborative efforts between and among public and private hospitals.
Leroche also highlighted the efforts to improve the testing capacity in communities and the involvement of the private sector in the information drive.
Aside from distribution of PPEs (personal protective equipment), she also mentioned the strict implementation of border control and minimum health standards.