Bacolod mayor says ‘better safe than sorry’ as LGU seeks extended strict quarantine

BACOLOD officials have asked the national government to include the city in the list of areas under continued strict quarantine measures until May 15 due to the continued threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmissions. The request, contained in a Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) or city council resolution passed on April 28, was submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). “This SP resolution, together with my own appeal as city mayor and that of Congressman Greg Gasataya, presented the unanimous position of the city to our national government that it would be premature to lift the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in Bacolod by April 30 as cases of positive local transmissions are just beginning to emerge and coming to the notice of our health authorities,” Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia said in a statement. “Thus, it is better to be safe than sorry, and to take all steps necessary, like extending the ECQ until May 15, to protect our people from further COVID infections, which can spread more easily when people begin to move around in greater numbers under more relaxed quarantine conditions.” The IATF-EID on Wednesday identified the areas that will have to remain under ECQ. All other parts of the country are considered under low or moderate COVID-19 risk, including Bacolod, and can transition to a general community quarantine wherein more businesses will be allowed to reopen and public transport can resume operations. “While we are happy that the IATF classified us as a low-risk area, that is not an absolute guarantee that our people is now truly safe and secure. Better to err on the side of caution than to live under a false sense of security and suffer for it eventually,” the mayor said. Bacolod, the capital and commercial center of Negros Occidental, has recorded nine COVID-19 cases as of April 28, with four recoveries and two deaths. One is still in hospital while two others are under home quarantine. — MSJ

DepEd-Davao to prepare for take-home modules, online classes in new school year

THE DEPARTMENT of Education-Davao Region office (DepEd-11) will develop take-home modules as well online class schemes for the school year 2020–2021. DepEd-11 Spokesperson Jenielito S. Atillo, in an online interview, said this “learning continuity program” would be needed under the new normal wherein physical distancing, among other health safety measures, will have to be observed. He said schools in areas with internet connection can use online classes while those in unserved or underserved remote areas can use hard-copy modules. Mr. Atillo also said they support the postponement of school opening to August to give them more time to prepare for the adjustments. “The two months hiatus (June and July) will give us enough elbow room to further ready our teachers and our programs in August opening,” he said. DepEd is expected to present its recommendation on the school opening schedule to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases within the first week of May. — Maya M. Padillo