BACOLOD CITY – The city government of Bacolod has initiated surveillance testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on vendors in three major public markets here on Saturday, October 10 to contain the spread of the virus.
Executive Assistant Ernie Pineda, cluster head on markets, said they have successfully conducted the swab test on 1,786 vendors, despite the protest of some vendors, who were also convinced to later submit themselves for the test.
Earlier, market vendors held a protest expressing their disapproval over the planned reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test that they have to take as initiated by the city government. They said they were concerned about their livelihood.
After a lengthy dialogue with them, the leaders of the vendors in the three markets issued a joint statement, allowing the conduct of the test, provided that the city government should ensure that the needs of the vendors and their families will be provided them whatever the result of the test.
Pineda said the swab testing conducted on the vendors was very significant because they were exposed to many people, and were considered providers of basic goods and commodities in the households.
He said that, through the swab test, they will be able to determine who are the possible carriers of the virus and have them isolated before things get worse.
The surveillance testing was done in Central Market, Burgos Public Market, and Libertad Public Market through Executive Order No. 66 issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Friday, to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Leonardia thanked the market vendors, who willingly submitted themselves to have the swab test under the guidance of Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)-Visayas chief implementer retired Maj. Gen. Mel Feliciano.
“The numbers say it all,” Leonardia said, adding that more people were now aware of the necessity of the testing in the fight against COVID-19.
Leonardia said that people now realize that testing will redound to their personal benefit, as well as that of their families and the public in general.
“The fight against COVID-19 needs the participation and cooperation of everyone to succeed,” he said, stressing that it could not be done by the government alone.
He, however, said that it was unfortunate that in the midst of the pandemic, there were still people who exploit the situation for their political agenda.
He said that these people sow misinformation and resort to black propaganda to confuse and mislead the public. “This will bring us nowhere in this crisis,” he added.
The mayor appealed to all those engaged in politicking to set aside their agenda for the meantime.
“Let us handle this COVID-19 crisis united as a people. It is when we are united that we can have a better chance of containing the virus and leading our people out of this pandemic,” Leonardia said.
“Politics will have its own time someday. But let it wait. Meanwhile, if we care for the welfare of our people,” he added.
Meanwhile, Leonardia noted in the order that vendors who refused to undergo the diagnostic test will not be issued “Permission Ticket” (or Market Pass) and their stalls/place of business shall be posted with notice “Under Process”.
“This means that their continued business operations will depend upon their act of cooperating with the Surveillance Testing Program for their own health safety and that of their community,” he said.
As of October 10, the number of COVID-19 cases here was at 4,364, including 3,424 recoveries, 112 deaths, and 828 active cases.