A TOTAL of 20 military personnel have been tasked to help Consolacion Municipal Government in implementing strict health measures designed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the northern Cebu town, which is still on general community quarantine status.
The deployment of the uniformed personnel—non-medical frontliners in the efforts to slow down the local transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)—came as several residents continue to violate health protocols such as wearing masks and observing physical distance in public.
Mayor Joannes Alegado said in a Facebook post on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, that he received complaints from barangay captains and tanods that several residents defied the ban on mass gatherings.
These incidents involving quarantine violators pushed Alegado to request troops from Col. Jerry Borja, who leads the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Cebu Task Force.
Nine of the AFP personnel have already arrived in Consolacion. The rest will arrive within this week.
Consolacion, Minglanilla and Talisay City are the remaining local government units (LGUs) under the Cebu Provincial Government that are still on general community quarantine (GCQ), while the 42 municipalities and five component cities are on modified GCQ (MGCQ). These three LGUs are proximate to LGUs that have high numbers of Covid-19 cases—Consolacion is in the north of Mandaue City in the north, while Talisay City and Minglanilla are in the south of Cebu City.
Several residents of Consolacion are employees in businesses in the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu. Also, some of Consolacion's ill residents visit hospitals in these three cities for routine checkups.
Past reports indicated that Consolacion's Covid-19 patients had a history of travel to the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu; they had work in business establishments in these places, or they had medical checkups or dialysis in hospitals located in the three cities.
As of 5 p.m., Aug. 12, 2020, the Department of Health 7 reported that Consolacion had a total of 446 Covid-19 cases with 88 active cases, 329 recoveries and 29 deaths.
Consolacion, a first class municipality, has a population of over 131,528, according to the 2015 census. Based on the census and the Aug. 12 total Covid-19 cases, only 0.33 percent of the Consolacion population had contracted the respiratory disease, which first emerged in Wuhan, China in late December last year.
According to Mayor Alegado, some of his constituents only observe health protocols when they see police officers, afraid they would be apprehended.
P/Ssgt Gemini Adalim of the Consolacion Police Station said they apprehended 81 quarantine violators from Aug. 7 to 12. Most of the violators were caught for not wearing masks in public, while others were driving motorcycles without wearing helmets and back riders who failed to show proof of their relations to the driver.
Two Covid-19 patients who escaped from quarantine facilities were caught and returned by the police.
With the AFP presence in Consolacion, Alegado is hopeful that his constituents will obey the GCQ guidelines.
Under GCQ and MGCQ, minimum public health standards such as wearing masks and observing physical distance must be complied with at all times.
Public movement in a GCQ setting is limited to getting essential goods and services, and work in the offices or industries permitted to operate.
Persons below 21 and those who are 60 and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidities or other health risks and pregnant women must stay home at all times unless they have to buy essential goods and services, or are allowed to work in permitted businesses.
All persons are allowed outside their houses in a place under MGCQ.
Public transport is allowed in both GCQ and MGCQ settings provided that the physical distancing is observed inside permitted public utility vehicles. (KAL from ANV)