Mayor Sara tells offices, establishments: Don’t discriminate persons from ‘high risk,’ ‘very high risk’ areas

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) ­– Mayor Sara Duterte told offices and business establishments in Davao City to avoid discriminating persons from barangays categorized as “high risk” and “very high risk” because denying them entry would not guarantee protection from infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Concerns on discrimination were raised during Duterte’s live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday after several local residents have been barred entry to offices and malls by security personnel upon learning that they were from “high risk” and “very high risk” barangays.

Duterte said it was inappropriate to screen persons based on their place of residence using the local government’s barangay classification, which categorized barangays as “moderate risk,” “high risk,” and “very high risk” according to the number of COVID-19 cases.

She said the release of barangay classification was intended to guide residents only when they move around the city to allow them to observe extreme precautions while they are inside these barangays.

The publication of risk assessment, we use that to guide the general public on their travel and movement within our city. As I said, we do not prohibit people from entering ‘very high risk’ areas and ‘high risk’ areas. The list is not to be taken as a basis for denying people from ‘very high risk’ areas and ‘high risk’ areas of entry,” she said.

As of July 5, Barangays 23-C, Agdao Proper, and Leon Garcia are classified “very high risk” areas while adjacent Barangays 15-B, 26-C, and Tomas Monteverde are “high risk.” Other “high risk” areas Barangays 5-A, Bucana, Buhangin Proper, Maa, Matina Aplaya, and Matina Crossing.

To protect them from COVID-19, the mayor added that the management of offices and businesses must ensure there is strict adherence to health protocols and screening procedures such as checking of symptoms, putting in place foot bath, alcohol, and hand-washing facilities, observing social distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields, and disinfecting those frequently touched surfaces because not all confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city came from these areas.

“Excluding the persons who reside in very high risk and high risk barangays will not solve the problem, that you can no longer get contaminated or that no confirmed COVID-19 cases could enter, by basing your screening on the address. Okay? The screening should be based on your health protocols in place inside your establishments, that way you can protect your establishments and, of course, your employees,” she said.

As of July 7, Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 614 cases, with 33 deaths and 399 recoveries.

Of the total cases, 463 are in Davao City, 57 in Davao del Norte, 25 in Davao del Sur, 33 in Davao de Oro, 32 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)