After yearlong lockdown, Iloilo barangay remains COVID-free

Published March 16, 2021, 10:21 AM

by Raymund Antonio

After a year in quarantine, a barangay in Iloilo province logged zero cases of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), one of the few remaining communities in the country that has been untouched by the virus.

(Photo via Raymund Antonio)

Barangay Bagacay in Tigbauan, Iloilo had zero COVID-19 cases since the outbreak started in March last year. Vice President Leni Robredo went to visit the barangay to oversee her office’s community-based projects there, particularly the community learning hub that helps about 210 students keep up with the Department of Education’s (DepEd) modules.

As a COVID-free community, teachers and parents there called for the resumption of face-to-face classes as well as the establishment of more community learning hubs, considered Robredo’s pet project.

The vice president backed this call, saying that she hoped DepEd would heed the call for more community learning hubs in communities with low transmission rate or in this case, zero COVID-19 positive case.

(Photo via Raymund Antonio)

Robredo went live on Facebook while visiting the COVID-free barangay Monday, March 15.

“Iyon ang hinihintay nila ma-approve ang kanila request na magkaroon kasi walang ngang cases (That’s what they are waiting for, the approval of their request, because there are no cases),” she said, referring to teachers who have proposed for the resumption of the face-to-face classes.

The Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) community learning hub in Tigbauan was made possible because of its private partner, the youth group East Strong Heroes, as well as the local government unit, and DepEd.

Robredo said they have been very cooperative in this project that now serves five to six public elementary schools.

Aside from Barangay Bagacay, Robredo also went to Sta. Barbara where she visited another community learning hub on the same day.

In Sta. Barbara, the hub operates from Monday to Saturday “with learners in the area accommodated in smaller batches so that physical distancing and other health protocols may be observed.” It also has a pool of volunteers from the barangay and LGU to help the students with their modules.

The vice president felt lucky that everyone in Sta. Barbara—from the mayor down to the barangay councilors—is actively helping her office to operate the community learning hub.

“Because we do not have an office here, so if we do not have an enthusiastic partner, we cannot do this. So, the purpose of my going around is to thank them. To thank them because if not for them, we could not do this,” she said in Filipino.

While the OVP trains volunteers and sends out supplies, Robredo noted that the “greater responsibility is with them (volunteers and LGU).”