Coronavirus infects Mayor Chan

Flor V. Querubin

LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan has tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), becoming the first mayor in Central Visayas to be infected with the virus.

Chan revealed his medical condition in a pre-recorded announcement that was played during the City’s 122nd Philippine Independence Day commemoration held at the Liberty Shrine in Barangay Mactan on Friday morning, June 12, 2020.

Chan said he was informed by health officials on Thursday night that his swab test yielded a positive result for Covid-19.

It is believed that Chan got the virus from one of his security aides who often accompanied him in his visits to the city's barangays.

The mayor is currently asymptomatic or not showing signs of the Covid-19, but his diagnosis underlines how pervasive the disease could be.

Chan lamented that despite taking the necessary precautions such as constantly wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), the virus still eventually got to him.

Doctors told Chan he may have been infected because of his lowered resistance due to overfatigue from working non-stop to ensure that immediate assistance is given to communities affected by the pandemic.

Close contacts

After Chan was found positive for Covid-19, his staff and employees at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall who were in close contact with him were immediately swabbed and isolated.

The Mayor’s office was also disinfected.

Chan is now self-isolating in the guest room of his house which has its own entrance and a bathroom.

The members of his family were swabbed and tested negative for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

"Pwera buyag, maayo ra ang akong lawas; himsog ang atong lawas. Lagsik ra ang akong pamati (Luckily, I’m okay and I feel healthy),” Chan told SunStar Cebu.

Chan assured that while he is in isolation, City Hall's operations will continue under Vice Mayor Celedonio Sitoy, who will serve as acting mayor.

Chan also ordered department heads and their staff to go on as usual with their work, including responding to the needs of their constituents who seek help via the City Hall hotline.

“Sa tinud-anay lang, wa gyud ko maanad nga mag-urong lang samtang daghan sa atong kaigsuonan ang nagpaabot nga atong maduaw ug matabangan (To be honest, I’m not used to staying put while a lot of our brothers and sisters are waiting for us to visit them for help),” Chan said.

While on quarantine, Chan said he will still meet with his department heads and staff through online correspondence and video calls.

Chan asked everyone to be always mindful of the threat of the coronavirus as there is yet no vaccine for it.

“Ako magpahinumdum sa maka-usa pa nga pabiling magbinantayon kay ang virus is still very much around. Dili kita luwas niini samtang wala pay vaccine (Let me remind once again that we should continue to be careful because the virus is still very much around. We are not safe from it while there is still no vaccine),” Chan said.

Including its mayor, Lapu-Lapu City now has 155 Covid-19 cases with 60 recoveries and 10 deaths.

Independence Day

Meanwhile, local government units in Cebu held simple celebrations to commemorate Philippine Independence Day on Friday, June 12 away from the public.

In Cebu City, the day was marked with a simple flag raising ceremony at Plaza Sugbo in front of the Cebu City Hall.

Unlike in the previous years, this year’s ceremony was attended only by a handful of City Government officials: Vice Mayor Michael Rama, Cultural and Historical Affairs Office officer-in-charge Bryner Diaz, Neil Odchigue who represented the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, and Jovito Taborada Jr., a City Hall staff member who represented Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Labella was not in the activity as he was accompanying Covid-19 Inter-Agency Task Force Chief Implementor Carlito Galvez in an inspection of the city's quarantine center at the North Reclamation Area.

In Mandaue City, the front portion of the City Hall building was adorned with flowers while Mayor Jonas Cortes, Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede and city councilors sent their messages to Mandauehanons through a video clip posted on the Facebook page of the Mandaue City Public Information Office. (JJL, KFD, JKV)