THE Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav) is calling for the setting up of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) in local government units (LGUs) in the Visayas.
During the culmination of the two-day Train The Trainer (T3) program in Bacolod City held Friday last week, Opav Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales urged LGUs to adopt the EOC concept which was first set up in Cebu City.
“We are cascading the concept of EOC to where it is most needed,” Gonzales said. “The EOC in Cebu was created to strengthen our management of the Covid-19 response. So, we are bringing this EOC concept to other provinces in the Visayas.”
He then urged the T3 participants to be at the forefront of implementing the EOC in their localities.
Concerned over the rising Covid-19 cases in the Visayas, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, presidential assistant for the Visayas, had requested IATF Visayas Chief Implementer retired M/Gen. Melquiades Feliciano to share the EOC concept with the LGUs in Western Visayas.
Feliciano was the one who established the EOC in Cebu City, which he also encouraged to be set up in other LGUs in Cebu.
“The Opav, in partnership with the IATF, has been extending technical assistance to our LGUs in the Visayas to better equip them when it comes to their Covid response measures,” said Secretary Dino. “We are encouraging them to implement this concept, which has worked well in managing the health crisis in Cebu City.”
He also stressed that the adoption of the EOC will help LGUs better align their efforts in addressing the possible surge of Covid-19 cases.
“We are bringing this good practice of having a centralized Covid management system to capacitate our LGUs in their response efforts,” Dino said.
The ultimate goal of the T3 program is to establish EOCs in all provinces in Panay and Western Visayas as a contingency plan to better manage the Covid-19 crisis in these areas, he said.
At least eight participants from the provinces of Aklan and Capiz, and the Department of Health and Office of the Civil Defense in Region 6 underwent the training conducted by Feliciano.
The participants included provincial health officers, health emergency management staff, and surveillance officers. They will echo the hands-on training they completed to their respective LGUs.
The EOC strategy calls for a coordinated response done by consolidating efforts, including those on contact tracing and testing protocol. It also aims to gather accurate and timely data for a more efficient referral system among Visayas LGUs.
The local government of Bacolod City created its EOC early September upon the recommendation of Feliciano.
“The Opav has been extending its support and assistance to the Covid-19 response not only in Cebu but the whole Visayas,” Feliciano said.
Last July, President Rodrigo Duterte directed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Feliciano to intervene and oversee Cebu City’s outbreak response when a spike in Covid-19 cases in the city led the National Government to revert its quarantine status back to enhanced community quarantine.
Cebu City has since downgraded to a more relaxed modified general community quarantine for more than a month now.
The Cebu City EOC continues its work in monitoring and controlling the spread of the Covid-19 in the city. / PR