By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – The Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod City on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution declaring a state of health emergency in the city.
Councilor Renecito Novero said the move will justify the utilization of the calamity fund for preventive measures against the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).
Novero said one of the measures being eyed is the isolation of Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) in a separate house while Persons Under Investigation (PUI) should be in hospitals for treatment.
PUIs are patients with symptoms and with history of travel to China including Hong Kong and Macau and other infected areas and had exposure to a positive case.
PUMs are patients with no symptoms but with history of travel to infected areas and exposure to a positive case.
The declaration takes effect immediately.
Novero said the calamity can also be used to help the PUIs.
He said PUMs have to be isolated even from their families to prevent the spread of the virus in case they are positive.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia requested the declaration.
The SP also passed a resolution asking education agencies to wrap up the school year ahead of schedule amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Councilor Renecito Novero said they are not proposing for the cancellation of the graduation rites but only the early holding of the same.
The resolution was unanimously approved.
Another approved resolution was addressed to the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) to consider the possibility of ending classes in daycare centers not later than March 2020 and to do away with the scheduled moving-up exercises as a precaution against COVID-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier issued Presidential Proclamation No. 922 which declared a state of public health emergency in the country.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental also approved a similar resolution.
Meanwhile, Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer and some mayor called for the cancellation of the Panaad Festival 2020.
Ferrer said he has talked with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson who said he will consult the mayors on the matter considering that the Panaad Festival primarily depends on the participation of local government units.
This year’s Panaad sa Negros Festival is on April 20-26, 2020.
Ferrer said he is for the cancellation of the festival.
He said at least 10,000 people are expected to gather during the festivities and “these people cannot just be open to COVID-19.”
Ferrer said the Panaad festival can be reset but once the virus spreads, it will be difficult to deal with and place people’s lives at risk.
“But of course we will wait for the decision of the governor. It is a decision the chief executive has to make,” Ferrer said.
So far, mayors who are for the cancellation of the festival are Melecio Yap of Escalante City, Salvador Escalante of Cadiz City, Ella Garcia Yulo of Moises Padilla, and Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan of La Castellana.
“We will meet pa with association of chief executives but for me much better to cancel so as not to compromise our people’s health,” Mangilimutan said.
Don Salvador Benedicto Mayor Marxlen de la Cruz said it might be too early to cancel the festival as the province is still free of COVID-19.