NEGROS Occidental Third District Representative Francisco "Kiko" Benitez and Abang Lingkod Representative Stephen "Caraps" Paduano led the two-day Metro seminar on contact tracing in the fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at the Victorias City Cultural and Civic Center that started Friday, September 11, 2020.

Benitez said the seminar was offered by General Mel Feliciano, Inter-Agency Task Force Deputy chief implementer in the Visayas.

"The premise is very clear that we cannot see our enemy, which is the virus. So it is important that we will determine and contain the virus. We have to do the contact tracing quicker than the virus and we should identify those who are infected of the virus," Benitez said.

The seminar is attended by around 100 participants from five local government units under the third district, Benitez said.

He said the present situation has become difficult because of local transmission, which is why the pathways of transmission should be determined for precise decisions.

"Before it was easier because those infected by the virus were OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and locally stranded individuals. It was easier to monitor their arrivals. But now, we already have the local transmission, so we need a sophisticated contact tracing [system]," Benitez added.

On the part of Paduano, he said the activity is well-coordinated with the provincial government and is a product of their local officials' meeting with Feliciano and other officials of the NIATF.

"We need to hurry up for the protection of everyone, especially in the third district," Paduano added.

Other LGUs, he said, are also encouraged to conduct the same seminar on contact tracing and that the third district is the first to take the offer of Feliciano.

Benitez and Paduano also revealed that a district-wide command center will complement the Provincial Command Center.

"We need to have a 24/7 staff for the contact tracing and identification of potential viral cases," Benitez said.

Paduano revealed they will also set up a 24-hour telemedicine where they will hire three doctors who will be available 24 hours to cater to the queries of the people in the province, including Bacolod City, for quicker response relative to the Covid-19 pandemic.