By Joseph B.A. Marzan
The Iloilo provincial government will retain its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response policies while remaining under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from Sept. 8 to 30.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on Monday confirmed that the province, together with Iloilo City, will remain under MECQ.
Iloilo province has been under MECQ since Aug. 1, while the city followed suit 15 days later.
In an interview with Aksyon Radyo Iloilo, Provincial Administrator Atty. Suzette Mamon said that there would be no changes to current rules under MECQ.
Mamon cited Executive Order No. 320 issued by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. last Aug. 16, which empowers mayors in the province to implement barangay-based lockdowns.
She added that the provincial government continues to remind the public to wash their hands, wear face masks, observe physical distancing, and avoid crowded areas.
“The province of Iloilo is still under MECQ until the end of September. We still maintain the existing [rules], because we have barangay quarantine and strategizing zonal containments in each town and barangay. We are just advising the public to strictly comply with the minimum health protocols,” Mamon said in a radio interview.
She also confirmed that the Provincial Health Office will kickstart barangay-based vaccinations in Sta. Barbara from Wednesday (Sept. 8) to Friday (Sept. 10), with 700 target vaccinations per day.
This was on top of what the municipal governments had been doing with their mass vaccinations, with the priority list coming from the local government units (LGUs).
“This is on top of what the municipal health offices and rural health units have been doing on the municipal level, the provincial government just intends to bring that down to the barangay level. So, whatever the requirements are, the level of priority, the requirements for social distancing, assessment, the same will follow, so we can help LGUs to finish vaccination and to speed up our coverage,” Mamon said.
Mamon also confirmed during the interview that seven offices at the provincial capitol in Iloilo City were closed for disinfection but will reopen today, Sept. 7.
These include Provincial Engineer’s Office, General Services Office, Provincial Human Resources Management and Development Office, Public Employment Services Office, Provincial Assessor’s Office, Provincial Accounting Office, and the Provincial Cooperative Development Office.
The provincial government’s motor pool in Sta. Barbara, which is under the Provincial Engineer’s Office, was also closed for disinfection.
The closures were imposed after some employees in these offices were exposed to COVID-19 or were close contacts of exposed persons.
“These offices were closed due to disinfection. It’s impossible for them to remain open for employees and the general public if they are being disinfected. But [on Tuesday] they will return to operation,” she said.