DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) – Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday cancelled all major activities lined for the 83rd Araw ng Dabaw celebration next month as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the deadly 2019 novel coronavirus in the city.
“We have no confirmed case in Davao yet but the problem is if several people will get infected. Our hospitals cannot accommodate the hundreds and thousands of people (who might be) getting sick (from the virus),” Duterte said in a press conference.
“Our game plan is to ensure that nobody gets sick,” she added.
Except for the thanksgiving mass that will push through on March 1, the events that have been cancelled are Pasiugdang Pagsaulog, Reyna Dabawenya, Ginoong Davao, Sayaw Pinoy, Kalingawan sa Sta. Ana, Hudyaka, Mutya ng Dabaw, Pasidungog, Araw ng Empleyado, Kanta Bidabawenyo, Parada Dabawenyo, and the Datu Bago Awards, Duterte revealed.
Malacanang approved last January 22 Proclamation 890 declaring March 1 a special non-working holiday for the Araw ng Dabaw celebration.
Araw ng Dabaw culminates on March 16, traditionally celebrated as the city’s foundation day until President Rodrigo Duterte signed last year Republic Act (RA) No 11379 or “An Act Declaring March 1 of Every Year a Special Working Holiday in the City of Davao, Province of Davao del Sur, to be Known as “Araw ng Dabaw.”
It repealed RAs 7551 and 7685 that declared March 16 as Araw ng Dabaw.
Mayor Duterte urged those who have sore throat, cough, fever and other flu-like symptoms to refrain from travelling in or out of Davao and to seek medical assistance.
She noted the cancellation of major events for the Araw ng Dabaw would adversely affect the city’s tourism receipts, but maintained that the move is important to avoid the transmission of the deadly virus to tourists and residents during mass gatherings.
The city posted 2,573,990 tourist arrivals last year, an increase of 7.55 percent from 2,393,384 in 2018, data from the City Tourism Office showed.
Starting Tuesday, February 11, Duterte said the local government would implement “a permanent ban on welcome and send-off groups” at airports, seaports, bus terminals and other transportation hubs “not only because of the virus but for reasons of safety and security.
Only employees, workers, drivers and passengers will be allowed to enter those places, Duterte said.
The mayor asked the Department of Trade and Industry to ensure that the price freeze memorandum of the Department of Health (DOH) and the other pertinent regulations on goods and commodities are strictly enforced.
The DOH identified N95 and disposable face masks as among those covered by the price freeze.
Duterte warned the city government will cancel the business permits and padlock permanently stores caught selling overpriced items and hoarding food and other supplies.
The mayor also ordered schools, offices and business establishments to “come up with guidelines to ensure that students and employees who are sick are not allowed entry to school campuses or workplaces.”