Bunye: Muntinlupa City's response to coronavirus -- a timeline

Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

IN THE scheme of things, local government units are the first responders in case of any crisis or emergency. Any LGU's response will depend on its state of readiness, its resources and its leadership. Using the following timeline, let me describe how Muntinlupa City has responded to the invisible enemy that is Covid-19.

March 10

Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi mobilizes Covid-19 Task Force.

City Health Office (CHO) head Dr. Teresa Tuliao leads an emergency meeting with the City Government's general service officers, schools division of Muntinlupa execs, and school principals for a briefing on Covid-19 updates and the disinfection initiative in public schools.

Disinfection of schools and government facilities starts.

Information drive on personal hygiene and cough etiquette -- through the roving sound system and social media -- launched.

No confirmed cases of Covid-19 among Muntinlupa residents to date.

March 12

Mayor Fresnedi orders barangay officials and the City Health Office (CHO) to intensify the identification of residents with travel history for monitoring.

Barangay government units prepare to install isolation areas for residents suspected to have contracted with the virus for monitoring of the local health office.

Following the suspension of classes in Metro Manila, PNP Muntinlupa deploys additional personnel in malls to prohibit students from entering the premises.

CHO sets up triage areas to serve as quarantine areas in Ospital ng Muntinlupa (Osmun) for suspected Covid-19 cases.

Barangay health workers are given training on protocols for the transfer, referral, and management of suspected Covid-19 cases.

March 13

Councilor Raul Corro, the city council's majority floor leader, says the council will look into passing local legislation to address panic buying and prohibit the hoarding of basic commodities.

Corro adds that the City Council will also discuss the passing of a resolution encouraging the youth to observe a time of prayer during the health event of Covid-19.

PNP Muntinlupa identifies choke points in the city's boundaries for initial inspections while awaiting the final guidelines for the restriction of land travel to and from Metro Manila.

March 16

Muntinlupa City announces its first confirmed case (PH139) as per the update of DOH on March 15. As of March 16, Muntinlupa CHO recorded 33 persons under monitoring (PUM) and 38 persons under investigation (PUI) in the city.

Muntinlupa City Council, headed by Vice Mayor Artemio Simundac, declares state of calamity due to the Covid-19 emergency. The declaration will allow the city government to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE) for frontliners, medicine, food, supplies and other equipment to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 in Muntinlupa.

City Council also approves the following ordinances:

1) An anti-hoarding ordinance that restricts bulk-buying of basic commodities to address the public's panic buying.

2) An ordinance imposing a liquor ban to prevent gathering opportunities for city residents for the duration of the community quarantine.

3) An ordinance ordering the temporary closure of malls, except stores providing essential services, and the closure of public and private recreational facilities such as country club facilities for sports, fitness gyms, swimming pools, saunas, karaoke bars, beauty parlors, spas, and the like.

4) An ordinance mandating restaurants, carinderias, and other eateries to only accept take-out orders and refrain from providing dine-in services.

The City Government mulls providing relief goods for informal settlers and displaced workers affected by the temporary closure of establishments.

March 17

Muntinlupa City announces its second confirmed case of Covid-19. Muntinlupa CHO also recorded 46 persons under monitoring (PUM), 43 persons under investigation (PUI).

Muntinlupa City eyes extension for the payment of real property taxes (RPT) and business taxes. Mayor Fresnedi said RPT deadline of payment will be extended until April 30, while the business tax payment deadline shall be extended to the next quarter upon the approval of the City Council. Further, interest incurred on penalty for traffic violators is also being reviewed to be waived through an ordinance.

Muntinlupa Traffic Management Bureau deploys e-Jeepneys along the National Road routes Muntinlupa City Public Market going to Tunasan (Muntinlupa-San Pedro Boundary) and Muntinlupa National High School to Plaza Central (vice versa). Shuttle service, however, is limited only to front-liners in the fight against Covid-19.

March 18

Muntinlupa confirms its 3rd and 4th cases of Covid-19. To date, Muntinlupa has 55 persons under monitoring (PUM) and 44 persons under investigation (PUI).

The field hospital installed in Ospital ng Muntinlupa (Osmun) becomes operational to treat patients with Covid-19 symptoms.

March 19

Muntinlupa steps up home quarantine for residents due to the rise of Covid-19 cases.

March 20

Muntinlupa City barangay chairmen, going house to house, distribute 72,000 relief bags to most severely affected residents.

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