Poblacion of Lanao Norte’s capital town placed under ECQ

LINAMON, Lanao del Norte (MindaNews / 16 October) – Barangay Poblacion of Tubod, the capital town of Lanao del Norte has been placed under an enhanced community quarantine effective 12:00 noon of October 16.

Executive Order No. 44 issued by Mayor Leoncio Bagul declared the entire barangay under a localized lockdown and focused containment ”to prevent, contain and  mitigate the contagion in the area.”

Tubod town in Lanao del Norte will celebrate its Charter Day this year minus the Saguingan Festival due to the pandemic. MindaNews file photo

Bagul told MindaNews in phone interview Thursday that the decision came after a spike in COVID-19 cases through local transmission in several puroks of the poblacion which has an estimated population of 10,000.

The order bans public utility vehicles around the poblacion but the local government will provide free transport for residents who wanted to buy essentials if they have a quarantine pass.

Bagul said he had asked the barangay chair of the poblacion to revise the quarantine pass to prevent abuse, citing there were instances of a household holding more than one pass.

He assured residents that the local government will provide support to affected residents while the ECQ is being enforced.

He added that in coordination with the Department of Education teachers would not be allowed to collect or bring modules to their students.

“The nearby villages around Poblacion such as  San Antonio, Pigcaragan, Bulod, Lower Sagadan and part of Upper Sagadan, Baroy will be under modified enhanced community quarantine or containment zone,” he said.

The local government said in a video posted on its Facebook page that as of Thursday the number of COVID-19 cases had reached 47, of which 20 were considered local transmissions and 26 were locally stranded individuals. Twenty-six patients had recovered and one died.

Bagul said there were 10 active cases in the poblacion’s business district alone that for almost two weeks they declared it as a critical zone and imposed a 500-meter radius containment zone.

The increase in cases was attributed to the conduct of a marine ecological assessment of Panguil Bay by the Mindanao State University Naawan School of Fisheries on Sept. 25.

The school was tapped as consultant by the contractor of Panguil Bay bridge.

Bagul said the first three-member team met with the municipal administrator before undergoing a rapid test which yielded a negative result. The team then visited the barangay and went to Baroy.

On Sept. 26, three scuba divers arrived in Tubod for a dive mission in Panguil Bay, he said.

But the mayor lamented that after one week MSU-Naawan called to inform him that their personnel who went to Tubod turned out positive for COVID-19 based on a Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction test.

He said they subjected most of their employees to swab tests last Saturday and found that nine of them, including the municipal administrator, sanitary inspector and some Bantay Dagat (Bay Watch) personnel were positive of the virus.

“I also underwent a swab test and thanks God I tested negative, but I’m still on home quarantine,” he said in the vernacular.

Bagul added that 30 of their police personnel were quarantined at the town gymnasium after one of them came in close contact with the municipal administrator. They were still awaiting the results of their swab tests.

He said personnel from the Provincial Police Office are serving as augmentation force in the meantime.

He said there will be no fanfare during the town’s 74th Charter Day and Saguingan Festival on Oct. 17.

Katsoot Buhisan, who owns a print shop in the poblacion said it’s all right that his business was not included as an essential one.

He said he had no problem with food because he still had a stock.

“I hope those who need more like the motorcycle drivers would receive it, as they have no other means of income. (Richel V. Umel/MindaNews)