Governors’ group urges IATF to defer expansion of Alert Level system outside NCR

Published October 20, 2021, 10:20 AM

by Chito Chavez

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Wednesday, Oct. 20, to defer the expansion of the alert level system outside Metro Manila due to the supposed lack of preparation of the concerned local government units (LGUs).

League of Provinces of the Philippines logo

LPP President and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. explained that LGUs need ample time to pass executive orders, review the guidelines for the enforcement, and disseminate public information on the implementation of the new alert level system which would replace the community quarantine status.

The expansion of the alert level system takes effect from Oct. 20 to 31 but Velasco said he would suggest to move it on Nov. 1.

“Hihiling kami sa IATF na huwag munang i-implement, i-defer muna. Ang tingin ko, Nov. 1 (We will request the IATF not to implement it yet, defer it momentarily. I think on Nov. 1),’’ Velasco said.

“Sana huwag muna ipatupad agad kasi biglang-bigla. Paggising kinabukasan, ito na, i-implement na agad (Hopefully, it is not yet implemented because it was so sudden. When we wake up the next day, here it is, implemented immediately),’’ he added.

The pilot testing of the alert level system started in Metro Manila on Sept. 16.

Malacañang announced on Oct. 19 its expansion in Negros Oriental and Davao Occidental which were placed under Alert Level 4 while Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Siquijor, Davao City, and Davao del Norte are all under Alert Level 3.

Areas under Alert Level 2 include Batangas, Quezon, Lucena City, Bohol, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Cebu, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental.

Under the IATF guidelines, alert level systems classified from alert levels 1 to 5 will cover entire cities or municipalities where the transmission of the COVID-19 infections will be managed and minimized.

Areas under the micro-level quarantine system deemed as ‘critical zones’ may be placed under granular lockdowns based on the assessment of the LGUs.

Places under Alert Level 1 have low and decreasing COVID-19 case transmission, bed utilization and intensive care unit utilization rate while areas under alert level 2 have low and decreasing COVID-19 case transmission, low health care utilization or case counts are low and decreasing but total beds utilization rate and ICU utilization rate is rising.

Areas under alert level 3 have high COVID-19 case counts with increasing utilization rate for total hospital beds and ICU while those under alert level 4 have high or increasing case counts with hospital beds and ICUs at high utilization rate.

The highest is Alert level 5 where COVID-19 case counts are considered alarming while total hospital beds and ICUs are at critical utilization rate.