Many countries including the Philippines have less preparation to the pervasive spreading of COVID-19, a virus that escalated in China at outset, which undermined all sectors within the
As this issue is growing, the national authorities seemed to be negligent towards its preventive measures to secure public health safety.
Lapses tend to overlap the appropriate actions and structures of government tend to lack coordination of their actions which causes a spate of threats to its people. Now, local government units (LGUs) are on their initiative to be less dependent on the national government to curb the spread of the virus.
Here in Miagao, a municipality in Iloilo province, the LGU alongside the barangay officials have come up with certain measures in response to this pandemic. As soon as the provincial level announced border lockdowns, the LGU then implemented a lockdown including stringent border restriction per barangay.
They instigated the issuance of quarantine passes used when going outside each barangay and ECQ passes when going outside the locality. Curfew hours,alternative working arrangements, early closure for business entities, by-batch system in groceries, social distancing in market place, purchase regulation by ordinance “Anti-hoarding and Panic Ordinance of Miagao”, by-cluster-barangay for access to the main public market were also observed
When it concerns public health, the LGU administered “no mask-no out policy”, transformed schools as isolation centers, started regular disinfection drives, and set-up emergency hotlines for efficiency when highly needed by its constituents. Furthermore, to support the front liners, the LGU initiated free shuttle services.
To aid the economic needs of its stakeholders, the LGU partnered with several NGOs and private organizations like PAG-UN BUILDERS & SUPPLY, Personal Collection, PHILBIKERS Miagao Kabilaw Chapter, Coca Cola Bottlers Company, and others to conduct relief operations. As assistance to local farmers, the LGU installed a direct marketing scheme through satellite markets.
Despite efforts of the LGU and the national government as a whole, there are still gaps in implementing these measures. Lockdowns and staying at homes if not coupled with mass testing is useless since there is no assurance to public safety. After identifying the community that has cases of COVID-19, that is where the decision to apply lockdown properly sets in, where there are enough bases to identify and properly separate the infected from the healthy members of the community.
After months of lockdown, the Filipino families are now starving, thus the government should present unified plans- one from national down to LGU levels. There should be lockdown in areas that still have COVID cases, BUT with clear provisions for financial and food support to the affected community who have already suffered a lot for more than a month of lockdown.
Since the people in these areas have no more income, it is a must do for the national down to local levels of government to come in and swiftly give the help to the starving community. At this moment, back to work and business in some provinces/regions with no COVID case or no more new cases can be put back, but with observance of travel ban to and from regions that have COVID cases and preventive measures should be observed.
Lastly, the government should ensure that there are no unlawful aggressions, or any kind of human rights violation to be done by the state forces through proper monitoring and listing of their duties’ boundaries since some are so entitled to mesmerising power over civilians and ordinary citizens. (TristanNineza is a student from the University of the Philippines Visayas, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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