(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Friday, 23 October, 2020) Northeasterly Surface Windflow affecting Extreme Northern Luzon. Caraga Region will experience Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms . Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to Moderate winds coming from Southwest to South will prevail and the coastal waters will be moderate to rough with wave height from 0.6 to 2.5 meters.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

National Task Force on COVID-19 augments measures vs pandemic, activates local response unit

By Doreen Marielle N. Rosales

BUTUAN CITY, Apr. 11 (PIA) -- The National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 continues to formulate better interventions to the health crisis as the highly fatal virus continues to plague the country.
For donations intended to address the crisis situation on COVID-19, Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19, says donors can coordinate with the nearest Office of Civil Defense regional office in their area. (File photo)

Chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., stated during his interview on the Laging Handa Network Briefing with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar that the government is now focusing on creating better and efficient interventions as they anticipate a second wave of the attack of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country.

Over the observance of the Holy Week, the task force concentrated on furnishing their logistics and resource management. As hospitals are being capacitated by the Department of Health (DOH), they were able to conduct an assessment on the capabilities of the hospitals in Luzon to cater to the necessities for COVID-19.

The Philippine General Hospital in Manila and the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital were observed to have excellent facilities and well-trained staff to handle patients of the disease while the Lung Center of the Philippines, East Avenue Medical Center, and the Quezon Institute, all located at Quezon City, is ready to render medical services.

Major stadiums and coliseums are also currently being refurbished to quarantine areas, such as the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, Ninoy Aquino Stadium, World Trade Center, and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The Rizal Memorial Coliseum is scheduled to take in patients on Monday.

The task force is also on the works in mass sourcing personal protective equipment (PPEs) from China. Sec. Galvez, Jr., bared that apart from suppliers in China, certain national government agencies are continuously looking for suppliers elsewhere. Albeit the shortage, private sectors continue to donate needed equipment for hospitals.

As the occurrence of the novel coronavirus creates a worldwide frenzy due to its understudied properties, several studies have concluded the possibility of a relapse on the disease, wherein a patient cured of COVID-19 may contract it again.

To prevent an even wider spread of the disease in the archipelago, Sec. Galvez Jr. urges local government units to heighten its surveillance on residents who has a travel history in Manila which is the virus epicenter in the country. He emphasized the need for a more ‘aggressive’ approach towards eliminating threats through conducting repeated tests.

“Once a person is observed to be a potential carrier of the disease, they should be tested and isolated right away,” he added.

The task force is currently looking for a model for efficient response to the current health crisis, particularly in preventing relapses on patients from occurring.

They aim to conduct approximately 10,000 tests a day to enable the much-demanded mass testing. Testing centers that are yet to improve their facilities to conduct the appropriate tests for SARS-CoV-2 are currently under the process of acquiring an accreditation.

Localizing the approach to the pandemic

The NTF’s organizations, particularly the strategic communication and response operations, are now being systematized in order to create a national action plan encompassing the regional and provincial levels hence the activation of the Local Incident Command.

But while provincial governments are requesting for additional assistance to continue their operations against COVID-19, Sec. Galvez, Jr. strongly recommends local governments to localize their problems concerning the pandemic.

He underscored that in addition to conscientiously following health protocols set by the national government, a harmonized approach among the regional and local government units to the issues arising from the health crisis enables a swift and efficient response.
“A localized response to this crisis is the most effective way to reap the success of our interventions,” he affirmed.

The Local Incident Command in Eastern Mindanao is supervised by MGen. Jose Faustino Jr. while Caraga region is being handled by MGen. Franco Nemencio M. Gacal of the 4th Infantry Division.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is looking into the needs of the different local governments in Caraga. Sec. Galvez, Jr., further emphasized the role of the local government units (LGUs) in flattening the curve.

“While the provincial government oversees, the LGUs and their barangays serve as the catalysts in the situation,” he said. (PIA-Caraga)

SurSur town ensures distribution of basic goods to all households despite limited resources

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, April 11 (PIA) -- With the recent declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine in the Caraga region brought by coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a regional lockdown of entry and exit points was also implemented. Hence, people even from nearby municipalities and cities were discouraged to travel to any parts of the region unless necessary. Despite having limited establishments within the municipality to cater to the basic commodities of the affected local residents, the local government unit of Bayabas, Surigao del Sur has ensured the provision of basic needs to the households.

Bayabas Mayor Maria Clarita Limbaro bared that the local government unit is doing its best to ensure that rice is available for every household. She emphasized that the main concern of the municipality, just like in any other LGUs, is the distribution of food/basic commodities to the households affected by the situation.

"Livelihood assistance is underway for those who were unemployed due to this crisis," added Limbaro.

The lady mayor also revealed that they have realigned funds to be able to give families one sack of rice. This is to lessen the burden of every affected family.

“The additional assistance of P2-million from the provincial government of Surigao del Sur is a great help for our operations for COVID-19. This enabled the production of additional basic commodities and financial assistance to be given to the families of Bayabas,” said Limbaro.
She further asked the National Task Force COVID-19 through chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez for the provision of more personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the frontliners and testing kits to fast track results of the swab samples of the patients under investigation (PUIs).

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that despite inconvenience for the locals in Caraga region under the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the people should still observe the preventive measures and stay at home policy to really contain the spread of COVID-19.

Malaya stressed that the subsidy from the national government was already downloaded to the LGUs for the distribution of assistance to affected households.

He also urged all the Filipino people to continue to cooperate with the government to flatten the curve against COVID-19 cases in the country and reiterated that the frontliners are doing their best to contain the disease, hence, they are recognized for their commitment and sacrifices. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

National Task Force COVID-19 assists LGUs in addressing issues, concerns in crisis situation

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, April 11 (PIA) -- With the recent crisis situation on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country, the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19 also provides assistance to the different local government units not just in the Caraga region but all the regions in the country.

Knowing that the region has declared lockdown of all its entry and exit points to individuals from outside who wish to enter the region, Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force COVID-19, said that the NTF respects the decision of the One Caraga Shield as it only wanted to protect the lives of the people from the dreadful virus.

“We will respect that (lockdown in the region). What the President wants to reiterate is that we don’t discriminate those who are not from our places or regions. For OFWs coming in, we let them undergo proper sanitization and quarantine. Before they are being allowed to go back to their respective regions, we make sure that they have already undergone the necessary quarantine,” said Galvez.

The official added that the task force is closely coordinating with the concerned government agencies to continuously provide assistance to the stranded individuals in Luzon who are from Visayas and Mindanao.

When asked on how the national task force could help address the different concerns in the regions, Sec. Galvez bared that the NTF helps capacitate the personnel of the health facilities through the Department of Health (DOH) and helps them address their logistical needs.

“All the COVID-19 task forces at the regional level in the country are also intensifying their strategic communications and initiatives to address and execute appropriate actions and response to all pressing issues in the regions,” Galvez added.

For donations intended to address the crisis situation on COVID-19, Sec. Galvez emphasized that donors could coordinate with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) offices in the different regions for proper accounting/recording and intended hospitals for their donations. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) could also help facilitate in delivering the goods and donations to the different regions.

“Let’s just trust our President and the government on whatever it is doing for our country. The government only wants to save our lives from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to follow all the health protocols. We are here to help especially our local government units. Stay at home. Keep safe. Practice proper hygiene and social distancing,” underscored Galvez. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

SurSur guv urges locals to help curb COVID-19 spread in Caraga

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY, April 11 (PIA) - “We could stop COVID-19 from spreading once we all unite, cooperate and do what needs to be done. We should protect each other and help also our frontliners who are exposed in the field just to keep our locals safe.”

This was the statement of Governor Alexander Pimentel of Surigao del Sur as he urged all local residents not only in the province but in the entire Caraga region to fight as one against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gov. Pimentel, in his interview over Laging Handa Network Briefing, acknowledged the concerted efforts of all the local chief executives in the province who continuously give their best to provide the basic needs of the locals affected by the crisis situation on COVID-19. He said some LGUs might have difficulty in budgeting, but it did not stop them from providing services to its constituents as other concerned agencies are also providing assistance and augmentation.

“There have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases so far of the patients under investigation (PUIs) confined at the Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Tandag City. As far as Surigao del Sur is concerned, all the local officials of the province and concerned government agencies are closely coordinating and are now conducting contact tracing on those Surigaonons who had exposure to the cockpit derby in Davao City last March," Pimentel underscored.

Meanwhile, the good governor also asked the national government for additional aid for district hospitals, saying they are also in need of additional Personal Protective Equipment for their frontliners and health workers who continue to operate and work in the field.

It was also learned that the provincial government has allotted P42-million wherein each municipality was given P2-million while each city (Bislig and Tandag) was given P4-million. To ensure that the interventions of the barangays in each LGU will remain continuous, the P2-million budget will be divided. The LGU will be given P1-million while the other half will be divided among the barangays, Gov. Pimentel said. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)

LGU-SurSur humiling ng dagdag IRA para tugunan ang krisis sa COVID-19

By Jennifer P. Gaitano

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN, Abril 11 (PIA) -- Sa patuloy na pagtugon ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Surigao del Sur sa krisis sa coronavirus disease (COVID-19), hiniling ni provincial governor Alexander Pimentel ang dagdag na budget o Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) sa nasabing probinsya.

“Sana mabigyan kami ng additional IRA kasi marami kaming pinapadalhan ng pera, yung mga na-trap at nastranded sa mga borders, yung mga nag-aaral sa amin na ibang lugar na hindi muna namin papapasukin dito sa Caraga lalo na sa Surigao del Sur kasi gusto naming mapanatiling negatibo sa COVID-19 ang buong rehiyon,” ani ni Pimentel.

Binanggit din ng gobernador ang pangangailangan ng mga frontliners ng personal protective equipment, sanitizers/alcohol lalo na at mas pinaigting na ngayon ang hakbang na ginagawa sa mga checkpoints kung saan sumasabak sa operasyon ang mga frontliners mula sa ibat-ibang ahensiya.

Pinasalamatan din ni Gov. Pimentel and ibat-ibang sektor sa kanilang pakikipagtutlungan sa gobyerno.

“Salamat sa patuloy na kooperasyon ng mga mayors, barangays, frontliners, Philippine National Police, Army at iba pang kinauukulang ahensiya dito sa probinsya at sa buong rehiyon ng Caraga. Medyo nag-istrikto tayo, pasensya na,” sabi niya. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)