Mayor Sara: COVID-19 situation not yet under control

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 July) – The COVID-19 situation in the city is not yet under control as the number of cases has continued to rise, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCR 87.5) on Friday, Duterte reacted to the statement of Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque who commended the local government for its strict implementation of quarantine guidelines even after it shifted to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on July 1.

Duterte said the city government could neither say it has completely controlled the situation nor claim that its response to COVID-19 is a “best practice” since there is no benchmark to make the comparison.

The sign says it all as barangay officials prohibit entry of non-residents in Barangay Leon Garcia, one of the identified high-risk areas in Davao City due to rising cases of COVID-19 coming from the coastal village. Photo taken 23 June 2020. Mindanews photo

“We do not know because there is no precedent, where we can say that this is best practice or not because this is our first time to encounter or experience COVID-19. The LGU would respond depending on the situation in its area of responsibility, and maybe what they said that Davao is model city for COVID-19 response, I think it’s very premature to say at this time because you can see the cases in Davao City are increasing,” she said.

Duterte added other LGUs may adopt some strategies of the city in addressing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We cannot say that we have completely controlled the situation here in Davao City, so it’s premature to say that we are a ‘model.’ As to the best practices, some of them could be applied by other LGUs but I don’t think they can apply everything in their respective areas because our situation here in Davao City will definitely be not the same in other places,” she said.

As of July 10, Department of Health-Davao recorded 29 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 718 cases with 34 deaths and 433 recoveries.

Of the total cases, 537 are in Davao City, 66 in Davao del Norte, 28 in Davao del Sur, 37 in Davao de Oro, 46 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental.

In a press briefing streamed live over Facebook on Thursday, Roque said the city has been strictly implementing quarantine guidelines to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 despite recording the highest confirmed cases in Mindanao.

Roque said the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte prohibited reopening the tourism establishments even after shifting from general community quarantine to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) on July 1.

“The implementation of quarantine regulations is more intense in Davao City,” Roque said.

The state-run Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City and the Davao Regional Medical Center  (DRMC) in Tagum City, Davao del Norte are the only referral hospitals for COVID-19 patients in the five-province Davao region.

For several months, the SPMC has been the only government hospital in Mindanao that processed test results of suspected COVID-19 patients through reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Davao Region now has three COVID-19 testing facilities, with the addition of Davao One World Diagnostic Center Inc. in Davao City and DRMC in Tagum. The government also operationalized testing centers in Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, Cotabato, Koronadal, and Surigao. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)