Cabinet members mobilized to support LGUs vs. COVID case surge

Published June 1, 2021, 2:03 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Cabinet members have been reminded of their responsibilities as “big brother” to several local government units.

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his public address at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on May 31, 2021. (Malacañang)

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has issued a resolution assigning the Cabinet officials to step up support for LGUs in battling high coronavirus transmission.

The Cabinet officials, first tasked to oversee over 16 Metro Manila towns and four nearby provinces in August last year, have been asked this time to ensure the LGUs are moving to increase health care capacity, strengthen testing, tracing and isolation protocols, as well as establish special vaccination lanes for health workers, seniors, and those with comorbidity.

The implementation of such proactive measures seek “to slow down the surge in COVID-19 cases, stop further spread of variants, buy time for the health system to cope, and to protect more lives,” the IATF Resolution No.118 read

“Cabinet Secretaries serving as Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) are reminded of their functions and responsibilities in supervising their respective Region’s Inter-Agency Task Force and Regional Task Forces,” the new resolution read.

“In addition thereto, the following Cabinet Secretaries shall hereby be assigned to provide stronger support to local government units with areas identified with high community transmission, inasmuch as to strictly monitor health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance to surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols,” it added.

The IATF resolution listed the assignment of the Cabinet members as follows:

1. Quezon City – Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

2. Pasig City – Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat

3. Pateros – Metro Manila Development Authority chair Benjamin Abalos, Jr.

4. Marikina City – Labor Secretary Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Commission on Higher Education chair J. Prospero De Vera III

5. Taguig City – Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año and Presidential Adviser on Flagship Projects and testing czar Vivencio Dizon

6. City of Manila — Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan II and Anti-Red Tape Authority Director-General Jeremiah Belgica

7. Mandaluyong City — Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez

8. Makati City — National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.

9. San Juan City — National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua

10. Muntinlupa City – Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade

11. Parañaque City – Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr.

12. Las Piñas City — Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar

13. Pasay City – Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Jr.

14. Caloocan City – Agriculture Secretary William Dar

15. Malabon City – Labor Secretary Bello and CHED chair De Vera

16. Navotas City – Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado

17. Valenzuela City – Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña

18. Bulacan – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

19 Cavite – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

20. Laguna – Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

21. Rizal – Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi

Under the latest resolution, the IATF instructed these government officials to coordinate with the respective LGUs under their oversight for the urgent implementation of intensified COVID preventive measures.

The measures that must be implemented include:

1. Expansion of health system capacities or the proactive dedication of COVID-19 beds, especially ICU beds, which should be 30 percent for private health facilities and 50 percent for public health facilities;

2. Strengthening the Prevention- Detection – Isolation Treatment – Reintegration (PDITR) Strategies, specifically the reduction of time period between detection of COVID-19 cases to their isolation; and

3. Providing express lanes for Vaccine Priority Groups A1 to A3 with special attention to be given to Priority Group A2

The “big brother” role of Cabinet members towards cities and provinces was first introduced in August 2020. At the time, they were mobilized to strictly monitor health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance to surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols” in their respective assignment cities and provinces.