Programs and projects initiated by Las Piñas City officials to address the COVID-19 pandemic

Published March 8, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Almost a year after the country was placed in “community quarantine” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Piñas City has adapted well to the situation and it continues to rise up to the challenge.

Dealing with the pandemic is not easy, but the city’s public officials have been doing their best to serve the people. Here are their initiatives:

· COVID-19 testing laboratory

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

To help in the government’s strategy to ramp up COVID-19 testing, particularly for the residents of Las Piñas and others in the south of Metro Manila, Sen. Cynthia Villar exerted earnest efforts since March 2020 to make sure that the Las Piñas General Hospital and Satellite Trauma Center (LPGHSTC), the DOH-operated hospital in Brgy. Pulanglupa, would put up and operate its own COVID-19 testing laboratory. Sen. Villar and her family immediately donated essential RT-PCR testing laboratory equipment to LPGHSTC. In coordination with Sec. Mark Villar, the San Miguel Foundation likewise donated RT-PCR equipment to the hospital.

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

While initially the LPGHSTC administration was not able to start with the construction of the laboratory due to some bureaucratic process, this was immediately resolved when Sen. Villar decided to donate for the construction works to finish the testing laboratory according to the DOH and WHO-approved standards. The LPGHSTC COVID Testing Laboratory was finally opened in August 2020 and at present, it has the capacity of up to 150 COVID-19 test samples per day.

· Efficient contact tracing in Las Piñas City

From its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020 and up to now, Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar has made it possible for the surveillance team of the city government to continuously conduct its meticulous contact tracing operation. Suspected COVID-19 infected individuals are being thoroughly located and monitored. All business establishments have been mandated to require people entering their premises to fill out contact-tracing forms, in writing or via online app.

· Lodging facility to accommodate frontline workers

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

In March 2020, one of the buildings that was donated by the Villar family for the Las Piñas Drug Abuse and Treatment Rehabilitation Center (LPDATRC) in Brgy. Daniel Fajardo was converted into a lodging facility for the LPGHST frontline workers in nearby Brgy. Pulanglupa1. This spared the frontliners from the rigors of travelling during the pandemic, and due to its proximity, it has allowed them to get sufficient hours of rest despite their hectic schedule.

· Provision of PPEs and food for frontline healthcare workers

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

The frontline healthcare workers were provided with PPEs and food supply.

Sen. Cynthia and Rep. Camille Villar donated PPEs and hygiene supplies for the LPGHSTC frontliners. Also, while the ECQ was in effect, they likewise sent food packs for all the LPGHSTC healthcare workers on a daily basis.

The city government of Las Piñas provided PPEs and food supply to the city healthcare frontliners.

· Provision of PPEs and food to all the barangays

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

Senator Cynthia Villar, Congresswoman Camille Villar, and Mayor Imelda Aguilar provided PPEs, food supply, and handwashing stations to all the barangays of Las Piñas City during ECQ.

· Las Piñas Community Quarantine Centers

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

To cater to confirmed, suspect, and probable mild COVID-19 cases, the city government of Las Piñas currently operates two community quarantine centers: LIGTAS-1 Center located at the two Villar family-donated buildings at the LPDATC Compound in Brgy. Daniel Fajardo, which has the capacity to accommodate up to 100 COVID-19 patients; and LIGTAS-3 Center in Brgy. Almanza 2, which was constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) led by Sec. Mark Villar. This may accommodate up to 85 COVID-19 patients. The accommodation, food and water, essential medicines, and the proficient monitoring by health professionals are provided for free in these LIGTAS Centers by the city government.

· Procurement of AstraZeneca and Novovax Vaccines

Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar has entered into two agreements for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines that are expected to arrive in July 2021 – first, with AstraZeneca for 300,000 doses of vaccines; and second, with Novavax for 200,000 doses of vaccines. The city government has likewise engaged the services of Zuellig Pharma to provide the necessary logistical support, including storage, transportation, and delivery system to protect the integrity and quality of the vaccines.

Las Piñas City is also entitled to get its share of vaccines from the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program, including those from the COVAX Facility (COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Initiative promoting equitable access to vaccines led by WHO, among others), to fill in the gap and complete the vaccination of the city’s target population.

It is also worth mentioning that some private companies in Las Piñas, led by All Home of the Villar family, will also procure enough volume of vaccines, allowing them to donate 50 percent to the national government and 50 percent to cover their employees.

Given the foregoing, there is assurance that there will be more than enough vaccines to cover all Las Piñeros, aged 18 years and above.

· Placing signages on health and safety protocols at strategic places

Photo from the Office of Senator Cynthia A. Villar

Signages on the basic health and safety protocols were put up in strategic places all over the city, through the efforts of Sen. Cynthia and Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar, to serve as a constant reminder for the people.

· LPGHSTC’s upgrade and increase in its the bed capacity from 200 to 500

Through the sponsorship of Rep. Camille Villar and Sen. Cynthia Villar, RA No. 11497 mandating the increase in LPGHSTC’s bed capacity, from 200 to 500 beds, was enacted into law in November 2020. The budget components for the purchase of land and construction of a multi-story hospital building were allocated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), through the initiative of Sen. Villar – P144 million in 2020 and P500 million in 2021. The increase in the bed capacity of LPGHSTC is envisioned to better equip the hospital in providing the necessary healthcare services and facilities, including provision of ample isolated ICU rooms, particularly when there are outbreaks of COVID-19 or other similar infectious diseases, which may occur in the future.

These are just some of the COVID-19 response initiatives of public officials in Las Piñas City, who are constantly working in order to combat the pandemic, including the anticipated delivery of a successful vaccination program in the city, where no one will be left behind.

More than ever, we wish for the good health and safety of everyone.