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Four zones in densely populated barangays isolated over COVID-19 threat

The city government effectively isolated four zones in two barangays in the effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the highly-congested slums.

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and Task Force Davao redeployed their personnel to set up checkpoints on the entry and exit points of puroks 3, 4, and 7 of Barangay 23-C and Purok 8 of Barangay 21-C.

While Barangay 22-C is sandwiched by the two communities, it has been spared from the lockdown for now.

The action was taken to preempt a possible massive spread of the infection, according to the City Mayor’s Office. Meanwhile, 56 individuals were also evacuated and brought to a PUI center for quarantine.

Everyone is hereby advised to avoid Barangay 23-C and Barangay 21-C. Both communities have an estimated 25,000 population.

Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal, the director of Police Regional Office XI, told TIMES that they will enforce the directive of the COVID Task Force, which is to prohibit anybody from entering and leaving the quarantine zones.

“This to contain further spread of infection and protect the uninfected individuals,” Escobal said.

Col. Kirby John Kraft, the city police director, said they initially sent 32 personnel from the DCPO, TF Davao, Police Auxilliary, and the Police Regional Office. Meanwhile, the barangay volunteer security force was also tapped for extra manpower.

“As of now, we have four checkpoints to implement the lockdown at puroks 3,4,7 in Barangay 23-C and Purok 8 in Barangay 21,” Kraft said.

Also, in a separate interview, Col. Consolito Yecla, the Task Force Davao commander, said they have deployed three teams for the quarantine control points in targeted zones.

Yecla said they also have one squad in Barangay 23-C for mobile patrols to make sure residents are staying in their homes.

“During day time, we will be sending out mobile loudspeaker operations in these lockdown areas,” he said. “We will also be utilizing our speed boats and rubber boats to monitor the coastline areas of Barangay 23-C.”

Earlier, the TF Davao has deployed 22 teams for quarantine control points in hotspot areas–or those with high prevalence of COVID-19 cases–including Buhangin, Talomo, and Poblacion areas.

Apart from security, Escobal said they are also tasked to support the Department of Social Welfare and Development, city government, and Department of Agriculture for the distribution of relief goods, cash subsidy, and seedlings to the communities.

Maj. Eudisan Gultiano, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office XI, said they have set up checkpoints along the highway and other chokepoints to prevent residents from sneaking out.

“Residents are not allowed to go out. The LGU will provide the food ration,” Gultiano said. “Our personnel have roamed around the area, ” she added.

Control measures in the coastal area

Davao Coast Guard Station commander Garry Laynesa said they would discuss with barangay officials some measures to ensure that the fishing community in Barangay 23-C will follow the enhanced community quarantine.

Coast guard personnel will also conduct seaborne patrols along the coastline.

“It is somehow difficult to guard a specific area 24/7, especially that we have lengthy coastal areas that we need to guard. We will do what is necessary, especially the assistance of the barangay officials and other agencies,” he said.

He said they will escort anybody they will catch fishing in Davao Gulf back to their respective barangays and endorse them to local officials.

However, their boats will be impounded to make sure they do not sail out to sea again while the quarantine is in force.

For now, the coast guard will talk to the barangay officials to secure a list of the number of pump boats and outriggers in the coastal community.

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