LGUs craft stricter health protocols amid COVID Omicron variant threat

Published December 1, 2021, 1:03 PM

by Chito Chavez

A number of local government units (LGUs) have started preparing stricter health safety regulations in a bid to lessen the effects of the possible adverse impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) should it reaches the Philippines.

League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) president and Marinduque governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. said this new development has prompted the local chief executives (LCE) to pursue appropriate options and other safeguards to protect their constituents against the omicrom variant which is deadlier than the delta strain.

“Malaking problema na rin nga ho itong biglang pagluluwag (health protocols) pati po yung mga public utility vehicles (PUV) ay umaarangkada na. So ang nakikita ko po dyan ay talagang maghihigpit din po yung mga ilang LGU (local government units) (The sudden easing of health protocols has been a big problem including the start of the increased passenger capacity of the PUV. What I can see is the LGU will opt for stricter measures),’’ Velasco said in an interview over ABS-CBN.

He added that the local chief executives (LCE) are now weighing their options because of the omicron threat adding that many had expressed strong doubts if the relaxed health protocol restrictions were the best move at the time when COVID-19 has remained a big threat.

Explaining further, Velasco admitted expecting LGUs to come out with executive orders that will best suit their localities as it remains evident that even the fully vaccinated individuals may be asymptomatic and can still be carriers of the virus.

As a precautionary measure, Velasco pointed out that the LGUs have instilled varying border control regulations even if the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has the power to enforce the alert level in the localities.

“Alam nyo ho iba iba yung strategy namin dahil nga po ibaiba yung teritoryo ng mga LGU. Yung iba ho talaga hinihigpitan yung border control. Sa iba ho ay hindi kayo basta makakapasok (visitors) kung walang travel permit (We apply varying strategy due to the different territories of the LGU. Some have very strict border control. Others are strict and people cannot just gain entry without the travel permit),’’ he added.

Even before the omicron development, Velasco saw the urgent need for a relentless information campaign to educate the unvaccinated individuals on the advantages of getting the COVID-19 jabs.

The LPP chief added that other strategies are employed like the barangay officials fetching the individuals in their households to get inoculated and providing them with incentives ones they are vaccinated against the virus. (Chito A. Chavez)