Lanao del Sur, Marawi: the only areas in the country under MECQ

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 September) – Lanao del Sur and its component city, Marawi, are the only areas in the country under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) from October 1 to 31 while Iligan City is one of six under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) for the same period. The rest are under Modified GGC.

“Ang pinakamataas na community quarantine classification ay MECQ at para sa isang lalawigan, ito po ang Lanao del Sur, including Marawi City” (The highest community quarantine classification is MECQ and this is for one province, this is Lanao del Sur, including Marawi City),  Health Secretary Francisco Duque, concurrent chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases said in the pre-taped, televised “Talk to the People” of President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening.

The six areas under GCQ are Iligan, Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City and National Capital Region or Metro Manila, which comprises 16 cities and one town.

Lanao del Sur and Iligan City were placed under MECQ in September, Iligan from September 1 to 30 and Lanao del Sur from September 7 to 30.

Lanao del Sur map courtesy of Google Maps

Lanao del Sur and Iligan City were placed under MECQ in September, Iligan from September 1 to 30 and Lanao del Sur from September 7 to 30.

Bangsamoro Member of Parliament Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency Task Force, told MindaNews Tuesday that there is a growing number of local cases and “we fear that if we don’t contain the spread effectively, we might face the danger of a widespread community transmission. That’s what we’re avoiding. We can’t afford to deal with multiple crises since the destruction left by the Marawi siege is still very much felt by the residents in the area.”

The spokesperson said 67 medical personnel of the  state-run Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) in Marawi City are infected and 75 field workers assigned at various Rural Health Units are also infected.

He said 37 of the province’s  40 local government units (39 towns and one city) have active cases.  “This means that 96% of our local government units in the province have confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.”

“All the data we acquired led to an undeniable fact: COVID-19 infection is surging in our province,” he said.

Earlier, Dr. Zafrullah Dipatuan, the Minister of Health of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) tested positive for COVID-19. A few days later, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr. tested positive, too. Both were confined at the APMC and have since recovered.

Mindanao stats

The rest of the country are under Modified GCQ, which Duque defined as “the lowest community quarantine status…. Just before it progresses into the new normal, so to speak.”

In Mindanao, out of 27 provinces and 33 cities, 26 provinces and 31 cities are under MGCQ but all of these areas continue to record new cases.  There is no flattening of the curve as yet nearly seven months after lockdowns were imposed.

As of September 26, Mindanao recorded a total of 10,993 COVID-19 positives, up from 5,944 on August 26 and 501 on May 26, according to the data MindaNews culled from the five regional health offices and the BARMM’s Ministry of Health.

As of September 26, Region 11 (Davao region)  posted the highest cases at 2,921 followed by Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) at 2,602; Region 9 (Zamboanga region) at 1,963; Region 12 (Soccsksargen) at 1,328; Caraga at 1,125; and the BARMM at 1,054.

On August 26, or exactly a month earlier, the figures were 1,939 for Davao region, 1,222 for Northern Mindanao; 1,291 for Zamboanga region; 409 for Region 12; 481 for Caraga and 602 for BARMM.

Lanao del Sur, including Marawi, recorded 605 cases as of September 28, from 258 on  August 26 and 578 on September 26.

Iligan City recorded 699 cases as of September 28, from 246 on August 26 and 674 on September 26.

Lanao del Sur accounts for the highest number of cases in the BARMM while Iligan accounts for the highest number of cases in Northern Mindanao.  (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)