Guv: Go out only if work from home is inapplicable, not for outings

CEBUANOS whose jobs can’t let them work from home may continue to report for work.

So said Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who added that it is paramount for employees, especially laborers, to continue earning for their families amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The governor made the pronouncement as she showed pictures of netizens going on outings and gatherings that the government strictly forbids amid the strict implementation of social distancing.

“If the job is important, you would have to go out of your houses for you to be able to afford necessities. If carpenters and construction workers won’t be able to get their daily or weekly salaries, they will have nothing to support their families,” Garcia said in Cebuano on Friday, March 20, 2020.

She emphasized that the public is advised to stay at home unless they have important business to attend to.

For those who wish for Cebu leaders to impose a lockdown, Garcia said this won’t be an option at the moment since there are protocols to follow before a local government unit (LGU) can do so.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that LGUs outside Metro Manila may also impose a localized community quarantine based on the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) in a resolution that it passed on March 12.

In its resolution, the task force said a province-wide quarantine is advised when there are at least two positive Covid-19 cases from different towns within the province.

“We must all be prepared by the time the need for a lockdown arises. All LGUs must be ready to respond to hunger, among others. Chaos will ensue once the people become desperate. When this happens, can those who keep on commenting help? Our steps need to be calibrated,” Garcia said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Amid threats of the Covid-19, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport continues to receive incoming flights from Japan, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East and parts of South Korea.

Foreigner passengers, though, are mandated to undergo a 14-day quarantine as part of the Province’s preventive measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Six hotels have opened their doors to become quarantine facilities for arriving foreigners aboard international flights.

Reports from the Provincial Tourism Office showed that there are 24 foreigners currently staying in the quarantine hotels.

Hotel operators have offered discounted rates to their quarantined guests.

Test kits, PPE

As this developed, the governor said test kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) are expected to arrive in Cebu from China through Chinese Consulate General Jia Li.

Cebu’s sister provinces in Guangdong, Guangxi, Xitang and Hainan China have also pledged help.

Garcia, though, pointed out that those who manifest symptoms of Covid-19 should be prioritized for the diagnostic kits.

“What the Department of Health is doing is instructional. This means that those who were tested have manifested symptoms, not those who are asymptomatic because we are just wasting the test kits,” Garcia said.

The governor said at present, the Philippines can’t follow the mass testing done in South Korea.

“We cannot have that kind of elevated and well-funded health system. We are ready, but they are on another level already, given that they have experienced epidemics before,” she added.

Apart from China, the governor has also tapped South Korean Consul General Lee Ki- seog for assistance. But according to Garcia, the Korean official only gave her a list of accredited stores where the Provincial Government can purchase the PPE.

From the current one Covid-19 case in Cebu, an increase may be expected with the arrival of more test kits.

Cyber libel

Meanwhile, the Capitol is ready to file the complaint affidavit for cyber libel against three insurance agents who reportedly shared false information in a group chat that seven people in Cebu City had died of the Covid-19.

On Feb. 10, 2020, the Provincial Board passed an ordinance penalizing persons caught making false entries in their health declaration cards and those spreading false information in Cebu Province amid the continued spread of Covid-19.

Under the ordinance, the non-disclosure of “pertinent facts” in the health declaration card and the spread of false information on social media or any form of communication (e.g. chain text messages) in relation to Covid-19 shall be prohibited and subject to penalties.

Violators will have to pay a fine of P5,000, or face imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both at the court’s discretion. (ANV, RTF)