The National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 on Saturday expressed concern over the worsening pandemic situation in Bacolod City and Iloilo City in the Western Visayas (Region 6).
NTF chairperson and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana took notice of the surging number of new cases in the two highly urbanized cities (HUCs).
“Ang lumalabas na may problema na naman itong Bacolod at Iloilo (Now, the problematic [cities] are Bacolod and Iloilo),” Lorenzana said during a meeting between officials of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team and local officials in Caloocan City on Saturday.
According to the Department of Health in Western Visayas (DOH-6), Bacolod City and Iloilo City are the top two areas among eight provinces and HUCs in Region 6 with the most number of active cases.
Western Visayas has 1,749 active cases as of September 4, of which 842 are recorded in Bacolod City and 636 in Iloilo City.
Of the 206 new cases logged on September 4, 89 are in Bacolod City while 24 in Iloilo City.
Two of the three new fatalities in Western Visayas in the same period were in Iloilo City.
With the this alarming situation, Lorenzana said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was deployed to Bacolod City and Iloilo City to address the surge of infections. Cimatu had been tasked by President Duterte since June, 2020 to oversee the pandemic response of Cebu City when it experienced a spike in the number of cases.
“Nandoon na naman sila Secretary Cimatu. Para silang bumbero kung saan ang sunog nandoon sila (Secretary Cimatu and his team are already in the area. They’re like firefighters who are present where the fire is),” he added.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana commended the response of Caloocan City’s local COVID-19 task force, led by Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan.
“Mayor, parang lahat ng ginagawa niyo dito ay tama. Okay kayo dito, you are doing well (Mayor, it seems that everything you do here are correct. You are okaya here, you are doing well),” he said,
With a population of 1.6 million, Caloocan City has 5,844 cases with 1,298 active cases (22 percent), 4,367 recoveries (75 percent), and 179 fatalities (three percent) as of September 4.
Its positivity rate fell to 20 percent in September, from 29 percent in July, according to the city’s health department.