THE 19th City Council is set to schedule a special session this month following the suspension of the regular session this week to give way for the disinfection of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) building after one employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
City Council Floor Leader J. Melchor Quitain told SunStar Davao that while there is no formal memorandum, the vice mayor already verbally said there will be no regular session this week.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio first broke the news of an employee having the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) during her regular radio interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio on Friday, October 16. The City Health Office (CHO) immediately conducted contact tracing.
Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte later confirmed it in an ambush media interview. He added that the entire SP building will be closed for disinfection and contact tracing.
Quitain, who was present during the regular session on October 13, said there was still no advice from CHO if they would need to undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine.
Aside from Quitain, also present during the regular session at the SP building last week were the vice mayor, Councilors Wilberto Al-ag, Danilo Dayanghirang, Jonard Dayap, Alberto Ungab and Mary Joselle Vilafuerte.
The floor leader said it is unlikely that the positive employee had close contact with anyone from the session hall, which is located on the second floor of the SP building, since the employee who tested positive works on the third floor.
He also said they are still waiting for the findings from the contact tracing to see if other SP employees had direct contact with the Covid-19 patient.
The majority of the councilors are currently attending the regular session through online video conferencing, which was allowed since the Covid-19 pandemic started in March this year.
Despite the suspension of this week's session, Quitain said the Council has no pending items waiting to be passed or deliberated.
"Fresh start mi tanan ron since hurot na tanang pending items. Wala pending and urgent items (we will have a fresh start because we do not have pending or urgent items right now),” Quitain said in a phone interview.
Depending on the result of the contact tracing and tests, he said they might resume the session on October 27. He said they will also allot a special session between October 29 and 30.
According to the City Council's house rules, the local body is mandated to conduct four regular sessions in a month. A special session may be called depending on the urgent items needed to be passed.
Quitain said the City Council has placed security and other health measures against Covid-19.
Since the pandemic started, public viewing has been suspended and only a limited number of audience -- from the councilor's staff and some media -- are allowed entry inside the session hall.
Vice Mayor Duterte said all employees are working from home starting Friday, October 16, until October 22. Testing will be conducted after October 22.