Dgte lauded for low COVID-19 cases

By Fayette C. Riñen

PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar (L) interviewing Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo (R) during the Network Briefing Program on Sept. 24, 2020. The mayor shared the key factors that led to the low incidence of COVID-19 cases in Dumaguete City. (PIA7)

Political determination, strict implementation of health protocols, and community involvement are the key factors that resulted to a very low incidence of COVID-19 cases in Dumaguete City, despite the first recorded imported case in the country coming from the city back in January.

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo said the strong will to strictly implement the globally accepted health protocols for people to obey must be consistent “if we want to make our city and people safe” from the deadly SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Our only best weapon is prevention and we employ guerilla techniques in order to ensure that there will be no local transmission of the disease,” said Remollo during today’s Network Briefing Program on COVID-19 anchored by Sec. Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

Remollo referred to guerilla techniques as the strict compliance by residents of the three health protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield especially when out of the house, and frequent handwashing with soap and water or alcohol disinfection.

Dumaguete City and the rest of the provinces of Central Visayas are under modified general community quarantine status, as most business establishments are now allowed to operate with more people going out to report to work.

Remollo said the city cannot afford a breakout as “we have limited tertiary hospitals and our hospitals are not fully equipped with respirators and intubators.”

“God forbid in case of a breakout, as this will be worse than Metro Manila,” said Remollo.

The mayor added the city does not also have a Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory to expand COVID testing, and sought the assistance of Andanar to follow up with the Department of Health so they could have their own testing lab.

Most COVID-19 cases in Negros Oriental come from other areas of the province, but they come here to Dumaguete, the province’s capital, to seek medical treatment, said Remollo.

Remollo further said the city government put in place a system before accepting any locally stranded individuals (LSIs), returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) or even authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) who come back to the province, with Dumaguete as the entry point.
“We require LSIs, returning OFWs or even APOR to undergo PCR swab test before they can enter the city. Then they need to be quarantined for 14 days, either in isolation centers or accredited hotel facilities, and we facilitate it for them,” said Remollo.

Remollo said they even send nurses and doctors to check the people in the quarantine facilities with a ratio of 1:1 whether anyone develops symptoms of fever, and admitted it is a tedious process as these medical frontliners are in full personal protective equipment gear.

But even beyond the PCR test, Remollo said there must be an acceptance from the respective local chief executive and the barangay to welcome the LSIs, returning OFWs and APOR back to their hometown.

The local chief executive said the order by the National Government for local government units to accept the LSIs and returning OFWs caused alarm in the community over a possible local transmission of the COVID-19 disease, as Remollo asked for understanding that they can only do so in batches because of limited quarantine facilities.

Remollo, however, largely credited the low incidence of COVID-19 cases in his city to the active involvement and cooperation of the community, particularly in compliance to the health protocols.

“We work together day and night just to keep the city safe. Because prevention is better than a pound of cure,” stressed Remollo.

Dgte continues with infra projects amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Fayette C. Riñen

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo (right) being interviewed by PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar during the Laging Handa Network Briefing on Sept. 24, 2020 (PIA7)

During the Network Briefing today hosted by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Martin Andanar, Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo shared how the city government remains on top of the implementation of ongoing infrastructure projects.

Currently, the Batinguel-Bagacay bridge is more than 40 percent completed. 

Once finished, this bridge aims to decongest traffic and ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

Other projects being implemented by the city government include a multi-purpose center, vocational school, shoreline protection reclamation, and a relocation site for victims of flooding. 

The mayor also shared that the city acquired a pyrolysis machine that will help in improving waste management. 

Yung Covid, nagiging blessing in disguise sa implementation sa proyekto kasi nagco-cooperate yung mga tao. Nalalaman nila na when the new normal comes, ito talaga ang kakailanganin nila para umusad ang Dumaguete,” explained Remollo. 

Meanwhile, as both national and local governments gradually ease restrictions, the business and tourism sectors are slowly recovering in Dumaguete City. 

“First of all, we are guided by the IATF and DTI guidelines, and we innovate. Before going back to the new normal we had a meeting with the stakeholders, restaurant owners, and hotel operators and told them what to expect in the new normal,” said Remollo.  

As a result, strict measures are being implemented by tourism stakeholders. 

Negative swab test results, wearing of face mask, and face shields are among the requirements before a person is permitted to enter the building premises. 

Remollo assures that as long as there is unity among stakeholders, then surviving the threat of COVID-19 is possible. 

“Keep the faith in your city government and national government. We are doing our very best to contain the situation,” the mayor said.

Dgte readies for safe re-opening of biz amid COVID-19

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo in an interview with the media. (File Photo/PIA7-NegOr)

The Dumaguete City government has tackled the gradual re-opening of businesses but consistent with health protocols under the new normal to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Owners and the management of food establishments participated in a “Health and Safety Forum for Tourism Establishments” in preparation for the re-opening of restaurants with the easing of quarantine restrictions in the hope of reviving local economy.

Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo presented the city’s infrastructure projects that will not only improve the quality of life of the people but also make Dumaguete attractive to new investments and expansion of existing enterprises to boost the local market.  

The mayor also presented the best practices in the fight against COVID-19 that may revitalize the economy and create jobs.

Both the mayor and City Health Officer Ma. Sarah Talla shared the successful COVID-19 response and initiatives guided by science and implemented with due diligence that has kept the city safe from the dreaded virus.

For three weeks now, there has been no new case of COVID-19 infection.

City Chief-of-Police Lt. Col. Mark Gifter Sucalit reported on the peace and order situation and shared tips for the business sector to prevent and report crimes.

In the same activity, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also presented the science of contact tracing and management of data privacy as the agency discourages the use of pen and paper in contact tracing by adopting innovations such as digital and QR codes system in collecting data of costumers and workers in the industry.

The participants fielded questions and interacted with the authorities on how to re-open their businesses without sacrificing the health and safety of the public and their employees.