Garcia: RIATF approves GCQ status for Talisay

THE Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (RIATF-MEID) has reportedly agreed with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to place Talisay City under a state of general community quarantine (GCQ) instead of its current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Garcia made the announcement during her regular press briefing at the Provincial Capitol on Friday, June 19, 2020.

"Let us thank the RIATF for concurring with our executive order to have Talisay's quarantine status downgraded from MECQ to GCQ," Garcia said.

Talisay City's quarantine status was downgraded by Garcia on the basis of the amended IATF-MEID Resolution No. 30 which allows provincial governors to lift or to extend the community quarantine status of towns and cities within their jurisdiction provided this had the concurrence of the RIATF.

On Thursday, June 18, Garcia issued Executive Order No. 17-G downgrading Talisay City's quarantine status from MECQ to GCQ.

However, the new status will take effect only as soon as the RIATF officially concurs with Garcia's order.

Lawyer Frank Dinsay, the governor’s chief of staff, said the RIATF will soon issue a resolution to support Garcia's executive order.

As of this writing, the RIATF was still in a meeting.

"This was information from RIATF, particularly (Department of Tourism 7 director Shahlimar) Tamano. He mentioned that they already took up Talisay's issue and they already made a concurrence,” Dinsay said.

“They will come up with a written resolution that would itemize what they took up in the meeting. There are also other matters that they were taking up, so it’s best we would wait for the resolution," Dinsay added.

Talisay City was placed under MECQ by the IATF after it found that its Covid-19 cases continued to increase with no reported recoveries.

Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas Jr. denied the IATF findings and said the number of recovered patients in Talisay was not reflected in the IATF report.

As of Friday, Talisay City had 147 Covid-19 cases, with 70 active cases, 53 recoveries and 24 deaths.

Garcia thanked the RIATF upon receiving word that it had concurred with her decision on Talisay.

"Congratulations, Talisay. Congratulations, Mayor Samsam, because Mayor Samsam really fought for this. Let us all work hard because God will not foresake us,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

For his part, Gullas said while he was grateful to the governor, he was still waiting for the IATF resolution formally downgrading Talisay City’s status from MECQ to GCQ.

"Nothing is final up until the IATF resolution is signed and given to the city. Up until then we remain in MECQ,” Gullas said, in his official FB page.

Should the City’s quarantine status be downgraded to GCQ, Gullas vowed to implement stricter measures to ensure that Covid-19 cases will no longer increase drastically in Talisay.

Manifesto of support

Meanwhile, Cebu business leaders signed a manifesto on Friday, June 19 supporting Mayor Edgardo Labella’s appeal to reclassify Cebu City’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status to GCQ.

This, after a dialogue was held with members of the Cebu Medical Society (CMS).

CMS stands for a stricter implementation of minimum health standards regardless of the quarantine classification.

"While we very much understand and agree that public health comes first during this pandemic, we have come to a point where the need to balance public health with the health of the economy can no longer be delayed," read part of the manifesto signed by representatives of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Cebu IT BPM Organization, Philippine Retailers Association Cebu Chapter, Confederation of Philippine Exporters Foundation Inc., Cebu, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc., Cebu Business Club, and the Cebu Leads Foundation Inc.

The group lamented the ECQ has taken a toll on small and large businesses, resulting in heavy financial losses, the closure of non-essential business activities, and the loss of jobs for thousands of people.

The group explained that when the city was on GCQ, 50 to 60 percent of business activities slowly ramped up.

But just when businesses started to gain momentum, Cebu City returned to its ECQ status.

"The move to revert Cebu City to ECQ based on flawed data analysis and without factoring the economic aspect is unacceptable," the manifesto said.

Business groups also called for a transparent, factual, real-time reporting of the Covid-19 data from local health authorities.

Cebu’s business sector also asked for solidarity among government leaders, the business and private sector, and the medical society to engage in more dialogue for the best approach to combat the Covid-19 crisis. (ANV with MVG)