In Cebu City, virus-free barangays to get P100,000 reward
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Mayor Edgardo Labella is offering a P100,000 cash reward to barangays that can “attain and sustain” zero infection from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from Nov. 1 until the end of the year.
“I am optimistic (that we can achieve this). It’s a tall order, but it’s a possibility,” he said.
Labella said the move was in response to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu’s challenge for local officials to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases in the city where a surge of infection was recorded in June.
In a visit here last week, Cimatu, who oversaw the government’s response to COVID-19 in the Visayas, said Cebu City had successfully managed the spread of the virus.
If all 80 barangays in the city can achieve a COVID-free status by year-end, Labella said the local government would release P8 million in unspent money from its P100-million supplemental budget granted by the city council. “That’s where we will get our funds for the reward,” he said.
Data from the city’s Emergency Operations Center showed that 43 of 80 barangays in the city had recorded zero active COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days.
As of Sunday, Cebu City had a total of 10,215 cases, with only 213 considered active. It also recorded 9,323 recoveries and 679 deaths.
According to Cimatu, the city will have a chance to bring its COVID-19 cases to zero as long as there are more recoveries than new cases.
More testing and contract tracing should be done to defeat the coronavirus, he said.
On June 16, Cebu City was placed under enhanced community quarantine, the strictest form of lockdown, due to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases.
It took about two months before the city’s status was downgraded to modified general community quarantine. INQ
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