BAGUIO CITY – With the increased number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cordillera region, Cordillera Regional Task Force (RTF) Chairperson and OCD-CAR Regional Director Albert A. Mogol urged all government agencies, private sector, and the general public to strictly observe quarantine protocols and the minimum public health standards during the 10th Joint Cordillera RDRRMC-RTF Coordination Meeting on 17 June 2020.
The meeting started with the weather outlook report of Engr. Hilario Esperanza of PAGASA Baguio Synoptic Station. Engr. Esperanza provided that easterlies are presently affecting the Cordillera region and that rains are expected to be more frequent especially in the afternoon. Lastly, he shared that PAGASA already declared the start of the typhoon season on 12 June 2020.
Meanwhile, lead agencies of the Cordillera RTF Task Groups provided updates from their respective COVID-19-related activities. The Department of Health-Center for Health Development-Cordillera (DOH-CHD-CAR) reported that Cordillera has 101 cases with Mountain Province recording its first case who is a resident of Barangay Suquib, Besao. To date, most affected sectors are health workers, uniformed personnel, frontliners, vegetable traders, and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
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On the other hand, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office-Cordillera (DSWD FO-CAR) provided that the second tranche of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) will only cover Baguio City and Province of Benguet since these areas were under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) from 01-15 May 2020. For 4Ps beneficiaries, they already received their SAP assistance thru their pay-out cards. For Non-4Ps, DSWD FO-CAR will be the ones who distribute the cash assistance. Initially, SAP subsidy were directly distributed by the DSWD to include 141 beneficiaries in Kapangan, Benguet and 268 in Baguio City.
The Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera (PIA-CAR) gave updates on the quick response survey on knowledge, perceptions, and information seeking behavior of the Filipino youth. Based on the survey conducted, government efforts and peoples’ participation must focus on infection, prevention, and control.
Furthermore, the National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera (NEDA-CAR) highlighted in its report that as of 11 June 2020, 7,128 micro-, small-, and medium- enterprises (MSMEs) are back in operation; 13,807 have limited operation, and 4,501 have closed their operation. Also, the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office-Cordillera (DA RFO-CAR) reported updates on the Plant Plant Plant Program and its SAP for farmers. DA RFO-CAR shared that 15,293 famers have already benefited from the Rice Resiliency Project (RRP).
For the management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-Cordillera (OWWA-CAR) reported that 853 OFWs were transported to their residences and were provided with other assistance. In addition, the Department of Interior and Local Government-Cordillera (DILG-CAR) reported that 2,544 Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) are already enlisted with 1,775 assisted, 440 on-going, and 329 pending assistance.
In his closing, RTF Chairperson Mogol emphasized the need for continuous collaboration among concerned agencies. He added that the management of ROFs and LSIs is a serious matter for us not to lower our guards instead, stronger coordination and sustained biosafety and security protocols.
“With the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region, the more we need to synchronize our efforts. All our gear should be intact. We can do this through our collective efforts and best practices. I always believe that we can do it better together!” Chairperson Mogol said.
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