State of calamity, ‘extreme’ public health emergency in Cebu
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The entire Cebu province, excluding the independent cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, is now under a state of calamity and extreme public health emergency.
In a special session on Thursday morning, March 26, the Provincial Board (PB) has approved the resolution of Board Member Kerrie Keane Shimura, which also authorizes Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to take “any and all appropriate, necessary and emergency measures” amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia and the Cebu Provincial Treasurer are also authorized…to disburse funds relative thereto as authorized by [procurement laws, rules, and issuances],” an excerpt from Shimura’s resolution reads.
Shimura, who chairs the PB Committee on Health, said the passage of the ordinance allows the provincial government to access its calamity funds in order to operationalize Garcia’s earlier declaration of an enhanced community quarantine for the entire province.
“Ato ning gipasar aron sa pag-access sa atong calamity funds nga madali ni nato og gamit kay kinahanglan man ni ato karon specially nga grabe ni atong giatubang ron nga problema sa COVID-19,” Shimura said.
(We passed it so that we can access our calamity funds so that we can use it when needed because this is required now especially because of the big problem brought about by the COVID-19.)
The 14 Board Members who were present during the session unanimously voted in favor of the declaration of the state of calamity and extreme public health emergency.
First District Board Member Raul Bacaltos, who did not attend the special session, sent in a letter and requested that his vote in favor of the declaration be counted.
Bacaltos said he could not make it in the session because he is already 68 years old, making him covered by the province’s own 24-hour curfew for students and senior citizens.
Bacaltos said he also had existing health conditions.
Garcia signed Executive Order No. 5-N on Wednesday night, March 25, which would place the province under a state of enhanced community quarantine.
Garcia earlier said that the province was “heading towards a lockdown” following the Department of Health in Central Visayas’ (DOH-7) announcement that there were now nine patients that were presumptive positive for COVID-19 in Cebu.
Read more: Lockdown underway in Cebu
The presumptive positive cases are on top of the confirmed positive patient who is now admitted to a hospital in Mandaue City.
Garcia is set to meet with the mayors of the province’s component towns and cities this afternoon, March 26, to discuss the protocols and measures that the local chiefs executives will be implementing amid the ECQ.
Garcia said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has promised that there are 20,000 food packs for the affected families in Cebu province.
While the supply was still limited, Garcia said the goods would be equitably distributed among the LGUs based on their population./dbs
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