#COVID-19 Regional Updates (05/28/20)

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DA assures adequate food supply in SOCCSKSARGEN region

THE Department of Agriculture (DA) assured that the SOCCSKSARGEN region — composed of the provinces of South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani, and General Santos City — has enough food supply amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement on Thursday, DA Region 12 Director Arlan M. Mangelen said there is sufficient supply of food commodities such as meat, rice, and other major crops. “Our rolling market, Kadiwa on Wheels, is going around the SOCCSKSARGEN region to sell agricultural goods to low-income households at low prices,” he said. The agency has also distributed rice and corn seeds, livestock, and vegetables seeds for backyard farming to boost production. Mr. Mangelen added that farmer beneficiaries will be provided with crop insurance, particularly on rice. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

Returning residents in Eastern Visayas, Bangsamoro test positive for coronavirus

THREE new coronavirus cases were reported in Eastern Visayas on May 28, including two who recently returned to their hometowns under the government’s back-to-the-province countryside development program. “We will get the bus manifesto where these two passengers rode for contact tracing. These beneficiaries of the Bagong Pag-asa Balik Probinsya Program have been swabbed upon arrival here in the province last May 21… We would like to appeal to other stakeholders to please observe proper flow of reporting and announcement of results to avoid panic and misinformation to the public,” Department of Health Regional Director Minerva P. Molon said in a streamed briefing Thursday. As of May 27, the region had 28 confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, with 20 recoveries and no death. In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), 11 new cases were recorded, all part of a group of 16 students who recently came home after being stuck in Cebu City due to the lockdown. BARMM Health Minister Safrullah Dipatuan assured the public that the students, including the four who tested negative, are staying in the government’s isolation facility. “Hindi sila pinayagang makauwi agad. Sila ay na-quarantine sa loob ng 14 na araw (They were not allowed to go home immediately. They are under quarantine for 14 days),” Mr. Dipatuan said in a virtual briefing. There are now 23 confirmed cases in the Bangsamoro. Both Eastern Visayas and BARMM are among the regions that recently had their own testing facilities operational, allowing for faster releasing of results. Local governments around the country, several of which have zero and many with low coronavirus cases, are currently managing the return of residents stranded locally, overseas workers, and beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsya program to avoid local outbreaks. — MSJ