DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte ordered Thursday the setting up of a dengue desk at the City Mayor's Office to monitor the giving of financial assistance to dengue-affected families.

City Information Officer Bong Aportadera said that around 10 a.m., Duterte ordered that "automatic assistance" be extended to dengue patients and families of those who died of the disease.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Aportadera said patients and families of the deceased will receive a maximum amount of P5,000 as assistance and can avail of the financial aid only once.

"Exclusive lang ni siya para sa taga-Davao. Naa na ni siya karon sa office ni mayor. Ipakita lang ang opisyal nga diagnosis or ang death certificate," Aportadera said in an interview.

Aportadera also said the city mayor reiterated her earlier order to barangay captains that they should conduct daily preventive actions against the mosquito-borne disease.

The city's medical assistance program, Lingap Para Sa Mahirap (Lingap), has been receiving more requests with the rise of dengue cases in the city.

Duterte's move is to separate the assistance given through Lingap and the financial assistance provided by the dengue desk exclusive for dengue patients.

"I have provided a ceiling amount regardless of whether you are admitted to a private or the government hospital. There's a maximum and it's the same for all," Duterte said in an interview Wednesday night at the Davao International Airport.

Step-by-step

Duterte said she has set a tentative date for a city-wide step-by-step action for dengue prevention.

"On July 30, tentatively, we have a program, a campaign, from the schools to homes to private sectors, mag-step by step ta tanan. Dungan dungan unsa ang campaign ta na kung unsa ang campaign sa CHO mao pud atong buhaton step by step," Duterte said.

Duterte said this activity will run from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

"Apil na diri ang fogging kung kinanglan kay kinanglan man gyud gud man gud maputol ang cycle sa kiabuhi sa lamok. Everytime naay ulan balik napud ang tubig. Nanglimpyo man mo karon ugma nagpundo napud na ang tubig so kinahanglan himoong habit ang panglimpyo (This will include fogging if needed because we need to cut off the life cycle of mosquitoes. Every time the rain comes there's stagnant water somewhere, so cleaning should really be a habit)" she said.

State of calamity

As to the possible declaration of the city under state of calamity because of dengue, Duterte said she is still waiting for the recommendation of the City Health Office and the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region.

Meanwhile, city health officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said there has been a record of 2,782 cases of dengue recorded by their office from the city's 12 districts and hospitals.

"There are 2,782 cases recorded from January to July according to the weekly report of the City Epidemic Surveillance Unit of the CHO. These cases are not only from the city but also from outside who were admitted to the hospitals here. As to the deaths, 22 pa rin tayo hindi pa nadagdagan. This is from the districts according to the Local Registrar's Office," Villafuerte said Thursday.

"Today (Thursday) we'll have our last discussion with the DOH before we submit our recommendation to the city mayor," Villafuerte added.

Villafuerte earlier noted that although the city has an alarming rate of dengue cases, the numbers were not consistently within the threshold of declaring this as an epidemic.

Based on gathered data, Villafuerte said the number of dengue cases have dropped thus, the downgrade from epidemic to a state of alert.

Villafuerte noted that based on the five-year average of dengue cases from 2006 to 2010 in the city:

* There is a significant increase of cases for the months of June, July, and August because of the rainy season;

* That the total dengue cases from 2006 to 2010 (January to June) was 6,496, with an average of 1299 cases per month. January to June 2010 totaled to 1842 cases;

* That the total deaths due to dengue from 2006 to 2010 (January to June) was 78, with an average of 15.6 per year. January to June 2010 totaled 22 deaths;

* In January to June 2009, the number of dengue cases was 1,701. In the same months of 2010, the number of dengue cases was 1,842. There is no doubling of cases noted; and

* Dengue deaths in January to June 2009 totaled to 30 and in 2010 of the same period there were 22. (Jade C. Zaldivar)