Tiangco wants Navotas back on ECQ
MANILA, Philippines — Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to reconsider its decision denying his appeal for the city to remain under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), saying it would not be able to manage a hike in coronavirus cases in case of a second wave of infections.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer on Tuesday, Tiangco pointed out that the Department of Health (DOH) had described the rise in new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city as accelerating.
Backlog in testing
“We also have a backlog in testing residents. The national government did not provide an isolation facility where the suspected and probable persons could stay while they wait for their results to be processed,” he said.
As of last Friday, at least 1,759 swab tests had been conducted in Navotas while 994 residents were still awaiting results. There were also 639 persons under monitoring and 440 suspected and probable cases.
Earlier, Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, chair of the IATF screening and validation committee, cited data analytics provided by the DOH in denying Tiangco’s request, which was made on May 13.That same day, the city health office recorded 83 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 19 recoveries and 20 fatalities.
However, on May 19 — three days after Navotas was placed under the more relaxed modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) — the number of positive cases jumped to 110.In Tiangco’s letter of reconsideration to the IATF dated May 18, he said that there was no flattening of the curve in the city even after it was placed under extreme ECQ for 10 days.
Lack of manpower
He stressed that the local government and its barangays did not have the manpower to monitor residents’ compliance with social distancing and other protocols, given that MECQ guidelines allowed more industries to operate at full or partial capacity.“There would be no way to verify whether the reasons given by people for being out of their residences are true or not. Certainly, among those out of their [residences] are the asymptomatic COVID-19-positive cases, who would then infect others,” Tiangco said.In his appeal, he cited the reconsideration given to Cebu and Mandaue cities, which after being classified as high-risk and moderate-risk areas, respectively, were placed under ECQ by the IATF.
“Accordingly, the City of Navotas, with all due respect, is raising the equal protection clause guaranteed under the Constitution in support of its appeal to be placed under an enhanced community quarantine…,” Tiangco said.
He stressed that the request also came from barangay chairs and the local COVID-19 council, adding that the local government would know the situation in the city better than the IATF.
But while his request was still under evaluation, Tiangco said he had no choice but to comply with MECQ guidelines.
“But if the time comes that the health of our constituents is put at higher risk, I will also have no choice but to enact ordinances [that would enforce stricter measures in the city],” he added.
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