DOH-7: LGUs have prerogative to allow children above 5 years old to go out

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 09,2021 - 07:42 PM
DOH-7 spokesperson, Dr. Van Philip Baton

Dr. Van Philip Baton, medical program coordinator for infectious diseases of DOH – 7. | CDN Digital Photo by Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) said that local government units (LGUs) would have the prerogative to follow the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) allowing children above 5 years old to go out in certain areas.

“The latest issuance has been deliberated by all stakeholders at the level of the IATF. However, it has always been up to the different Local Government Units to assess the applicability of such issuances to the realities in their areas,” said Dr. Van Philip Baton, the spokesperson of DOH-7.

Baton said that the DOH-7 maintained the opinion that minimum public health protocols had to be observed by everyone especially since a significant portion of the community had not yet been vaccinated.

The decision of the IATF was announced by Presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque, that children, 5 years old and above, can already go to outdoor areas limited to parks, playgrounds, beaches, biking and hiking trails, outdoor tourist sites and attractions

These also include outdoor non-contact sports courts and venues, and al-fresco dining establishments in the previously mentioned areas.

However, mixed-use indoor/outdoor buildings and facilities such as malls and similar establishments are not included in the allowed outdoor areas for children.

Furthermore, children must be supervised by adults and observe minimum public health standards, such as wearing of face masks and social distancing.

“The allowance is only for outdoor areas as defined. We still encourage everyone to practice personal responsibility in ensuring they and their children are safe,” said Baton.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) does not see it fit yet to adopt this new policy.

EOC deputy chief implementor, Councilor Joel Garganera, said that due to the rising trend of COVID-19 cases in the city, they would be asking that the implementation be deferred after July 2021.

“As of the moment, cases are rising up, hospitals though we’re in a very safe zone but the past 2 weeks from 21 percent occupancy to 34 percent,” Garganera said.

“Anyway I am just asking them for the month of July. We’ll bring down our cases first them mo entertain dayon ta anang pag relax sa atong protocol sa edad. (Then we will entertain that policy to relax our protocol on age.) We’re on the same page, we’re on that direction pero dili sa karon tungod sa nagkasaka atong mga kaso (we’re on that direction but not now because our cases are rising),” he said.

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TAGS: 5 years old, children, DOH-7, IATF, LGUs

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