THIRD District Congressman Francisco Benitez and Abang Lingkod Representative Stephen Paduano jointly led a three-hour meeting Tuesday, September 22, in Silay City to step-up coordination and preparations for the full-swing operationalization of the first integrated district-wide Covid-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the province by next week.
Retired Major General Mel Feliciano of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Visayas, who was the main resource speaker in the combined face-to-face and Zoom meeting hosted by Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, stressed major critical factors to make the EOC effective and efficient--strong coordination with the command center that must have a centralized structure; accuracy and timeliness of data collection; critical meaningful data analysis that is key to intervention; and a workable referral system flow, among others.
Both Benitez and Paduano stressed the importance of standardized guidelines on data gathering, processing and analysis among the five local government units that comprise the Third District--Cities of Victorias, Silay and Talisay, and the municipalities of E. B. Magalona and Murcia.
Benitez announced his office has requested 18,000 Covid-19 testing kits from the Department of Health to augment supplies of all LGUs in the Third District. They are expected to arrive late this week.
Each of the LGUs, led by their respective mayors and assisted by their local task force officials, reported on the status of initiatives and measures to include critical statistics of the pandemic in their communities. A sharing of best practices and experiences in the implementation of swabbing, contact tracing and data gathering were evaluated in turn by Feliciano who pinpointed areas for improvement as well as points for emulation.
Present were Victorias Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, Silay Mayor Mark Golez, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Murcia Mayor Gerry Rojas, and Talisay Executive Assistant Nicolai Jalandoni representing Mayor Neil Lizares.
The Metro 3rd Emergency Operations Center assisted by the IATF – Visayas, the Negros Occidental Provincial Government, and the Department of Health, will augment and supplement efforts of LGUs in fighting the pandemic. It will also strengthen coordination and cooperation efforts for better management of resources from both the public and private sectors in the implementation of quick emergency response systems, medical referrals through telemedicine and existing structures in the communities, and effective monitoring of testing, tracing, isolation and treatment procedures.
The meeting was moderated by Provincial Board Member Ryan Gamboa, who is also Silay City councilor, with the assistance of Metro 3rd EOC action officer Mary Ann Dino, Silay City executive assistant and executive director of the Betty Bantug Benitez Foundation.