MANILA

Bunye: Coping with Covid-19 in Muntinlupa City

Speaking Out

CREDIT it to intensified targeted mass testing, including contract tracing, isolation strategies, as well as treatment of confirmed and suspect individuals. That's how Muntinlupa City Health Officer, Dr. Ma. Teresa "Tet" Tuliao explained it.

As of May 16, Muntinlupa City recorded a recovery rate of 56.85 percent, the highest in the National Capital Region. Dra. Tuliao reported to Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi that in view of the ongoing "express mass testing" (administered free to residents), the city health office has tested more than 2000 residents and frontliners. Residents to be tested are transported by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO). Confirmed patients are immediately referred to quarantine facilities while close contacts and their families are isolated. Dra. Tuliaoalso acknowledged the valuable support of Filinvest Corporate City Foundation, which donated 2,010 rapid test kits to the city government to augment its targeted mass testing efforts.

Another good news: the Covid transmission in Muntinlupa City has slowed down to eight days, based on "doubling time" data of confirmed cases over the past few days. "Doubling time" refers to the number of days for the local coronavirus to double in number. The standard rate of transmission should be between seven and 30 days, the more days the better, to be considered decelerating. Latest figures provided by the City Health Office showed that the city had 207 confirmed cases with 144 recoveries, 32 active cases, 31 reported deaths, 36 suspect cases and 192 probable cases.

"The improved figures, however, are no cause for the public to relax their vigilance," Mayor Fresnedi said. He urged residents to continue to observe physical distancing, strict social hygiene, and other measures such as curfew, and quarantine pass system.

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa City proverbially killed two birds with one stone when it recently hired 164 displaced seamstresses to produce an estimated 2,400 complete Personal Protective Equipment for frontliners at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun). The PPEs included gowns, head covers, goggles and shoe covers. Under the program dubbed as Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa Displaced Workers (Tupad), seamstresses were paid P537 per day. The project was jointly undertaken by Lingkod Muntinlupa Foundation (which provided the fabric and sewing materials); the Muntinlupa Gender and Development Office (GAD), headed by Trina Biazon; the Public Employment Service Office (Peso), headed by Glenda Aniñon; the Muntinlupa City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO), headed by Erwin Alfonso, and the Muntinlupa City Technical Institute (MCTI)-Tesda, headed by Engr. Francis A. Santella.

GAD, the City Nutrition Committee and the office of Congressman Ruffy Biazon also facilitated the distribution of NutriPan -- fortified with Iron, Vitamin A and Malunggay -- to undernourished kids in the city to provide additional nutrition and to boost their immune systems. The program was supported by San Miguel Corporation.

As of Thursday last week, the City Government has allowed 4,174 tricycles to operate in order to transport frontliners, workers of industries allowed to operate during MECQ, and heads of households buying essential goods. Muntinlupa Traffic Management Bureau Chief Danidon Nolasco said the accredited tricycles were allowed to operate from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m., provided they observed proper social distancing and sanitation safeguards.

The Gotianun-family led Filinvest Development Corporation and its various foundations and subsidiaries have pledged to donate P100 million worth of Covid-19 test kits and PPEs for frontliners and hospital workers. Josephine T. Gotianun-Yap, president and CEO of Filinvest Development Corporation, said the donation will go principally to The Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM). Another important contribution made by Filinvest was to sponsor and fast-track the creation of a Covid dashboard that one can now find in the DOH website. Another dashboard is being used by the IATF. It is a joint project with the DOH, the DOST and the data science company operating the machine. Ms. Gotianun-Yap explained: "The decision makers need this data - cases, testing, hospital resources -in real time to plan out their strategy against Covid."

Recently, Filinvest Development Corporation allowed the use of its events place in Alabang -- Filinvest Tent -- as a health care center to serve Covid-19 patients. The fully air-conditioned and sufficiently-equipped quarantine facility can accommodate 108 persons. Filinvest sponsored the construction materials, EEI provided the manpower while the Villar Group provided the hospital beds. The facility is being managed by the Office of Civil Defense and the Bureau of Fire Protection. Facilities like this have greatly helped ease the pressure from the hospital system.

Earlier, the Filinvest-managed Palms Country Club in Alabang -- with the full support of its shareholders -- provided bed and shower facilities to medical front-liners working at the nearby Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

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