Cordillera RTF COVID-19 to continue the momentum in promoting a safer Cordillera in the new normal

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BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Task Force COVID-19 (Cordillera RTF COVID-19) Chairperson Albert A. Mogol encouraged the member-agencies for a continued momentum in facing multi-front hazards, the COVID-19 pandemic and the hydrometeorological hazards, during the 12th joint Cordillera RTF COVID-19-Cordillera RDRRMC coordination meeting on 14 July 2020 at the DPWH-CAR Regional Office, Engineer’s Hill, Baguio City.

Engr. Hilario G. Esperanza, weather specialist from the PAGASA Baguio Synoptic Station, reported the latest weather updates on Tropical Depression (TD) “Carina”. As of 11:00 AM, the Tropical Depression’s center is located 95 km West of Basco, Batanes and is moving Northwest. The TD will be 325 km North Northwest of Batanes by 15 July 2020 and could be downgraded into a Low Pressure Area (LPA) either today or tomorrow morning. Scattered light to moderate rains is expected in Abra due to the TD while the rest of the Cordillera will experience isolated rainshowers due to localized thunderstorms. The Cordillera will experience fair weather until the weekend.

Lead agencies of the Cordillera RTF COVID-19 Task Groups (TGs) and Sub-Task Groups (STGs) provided status reports on their respective COVID-19-related activities. The Department of Health-Center for Health Development-Cordillera (DOH-CHD-CAR) reported that Cordillera has 140 cases as of 13 July 2020 to include 29 admitted, 109 recovered, and 2 deaths. The peak of cases recorded was in June 2020 due to expanded risk-based testing and the movement of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs). Most affected sectors are the general public, health workers, uniformed personnel, LSIs, ROFs, and persons deprived of liberty.

On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office-Cordillera (DSWD FO-CAR) reported that 5,179 available food packs worth PhP2,379,271.22 and 132,858 packs are augmented to local government units (LGUs) amounting to more than PhP57 Million. On the Emergency Subsidy Program (ESP), 99.78% liquidation report and 100% Social Amelioration Cards (SACs) were encoded. Around 5,407 beneficiaries received 2nd tranche of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) in Benguet. The 2nd tranche of SAP will be paid out through financial service providers such as GCash, PayMaya, and Starpay except for Sablan town in Benguet where DSWD FO-CAR will conduct direct payout.

The Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera (PIA-CAR) shared that are continuously disseminating quote cards, social media cards, video, radio, and TV productions, and press releases to educate the general public on the new normal situations. PIA-CAR also sustained advocacy on ELCAC efforts amid the pandemic.

Furthermore, the National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) highlighted in its report that as of 10 July 2020, 7,410 out of 24,716 micro-, small-, and medium- enterprises (MSMEs) already resumed operations while the Department of Trade and Industry-Cordillera (DTI-CAR) has deployed 167 rolling stores generating a total of PhP117.30 Million sales.

A total of 1,563 returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Cordillera have been assisted by the Cordillera office of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-CAR). Since 25 May 2020, OWWA-CAR has facilitated the travel of 1,218 OFWs through sweeper buses under the Uwian Program for OFWs while 1,165 repatriated OFWs were assisted at the Teachers’ Camp Quarantine facilities.

The Department of Interior and Local Government-Cordillera (DILG-CAR) reported that 4,113 LSIs have been assisted with 45 still pending, 263 on-going, and 3,805 completed. There were 2,212 inbound LSIs and 834 outbound LSIs returned to their respective residences as of 13 July 2020.

The Bureau of Local Government Finance-Cordillera (BLGF-CAR) reported on the utilization of LDRMM Fund and Bayanihan Grant. On the LDRRM Fund, the LGUs spent PhP 662,494,900.24 out of the PhP1,091,657,072.98 for 2020 as of 30 June 2020. Out of the PhP1,144,920.941.00 Bayanihan Grant, 54.42% has been disbursed as of 30 June 2020. BLGF-CAR is now looking on the status of disbursements on COVID-19-related expenditures as well as the variances of slow disbursement.

In his guidance, Chairperson Mogol emphasized the continued collaboration among member-agencies in maintaining readiness and proactive response operability against the COVID-19 pandemic and other existing risks in the Cordillera.

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