Lanao del Norte strengthens efforts vs. COVID-19, registers zero probable case

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TUBOD, LANAO DEL NORTE (24 April 2020) – The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte continues to provide stringent measures to ensure local transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is prevented more than a month after the province-wide enhanced community quarantine was implemented.

Governor Imelda “Angging” Dimaporo is leading local efforts and personally overseeing the work of the province’s incident management team and government response to the public health crisis.

Since the Philippines confirmed a massive local transmission that began in March in Metro Manila, the Northern Mindanao province has contained the spread of the dreaded virus.

While the country registers 6,710 confirmed cases, Lanao del Norte has only one confirmed case. The patient is currently recovering at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City and will soon be released from the hospital.

According to Lyndon Calica, incident commander of the local inter-agency task force, there is zero probable case in the province while 7 persons, considered suspected cases, are currently in home isolation. Around 1,570 individuals have completed the required 14-day quarantine after previously being considered as persons under monitoring.

Calica said the single COVID-19 case registered in the capital town of Tubod caused the residents to take the situation very seriously. Massive cooperation in the barangay and municipal levels have been observed and containment of the disease is attributed to effective measures done by the local government units.

However, Calica noted that a bigger problem may arise as soon as the enhanced community quarantine orders are lifted especially that massive testing is not yet being done in the province.

“In my opinion, the real problem here may start when the Executive Orders issued by Governor Dimaporo are lifted. The worst is yet to come,” said Calica.

Lyndon Calica, Incident Commander of Lanao del Norte’s local inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response, expects a worst case scenario should the Executive Orders on enhanced community quarantine are lifted. (Photo: James Umaran/HRS Media)

When asked how he anticipated the general populations would respond to either an extension of the preventive measures or an abrupt return to normal conditions, Calica noted that the current situation will become the new norm within communities and government and people might have to adapt accordingly.

Different towns within the province have likewise taken serious steps in managing entry points and restricting movements of people. The national highway is being manned by the Philippine National Police and local government unit personnel from the 23 municipalities.

While most of the support on basic needs and day-to-day commodity are being managed and responded to at the municipal and barangay levels, Calica indicated that the province is more than ready to augment and provide additional support should the community quarantine continue to take effect longer than expected.

Earlier today, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that President Duterte approved the extension of the community quarantine in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon to until May 15.

Meanwhile, municipalities in Lanao del Norte have commenced the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) providing 6,000 to 8,000-peso financial assistance to the poorest among the poor families. However, some issues were noted in the distribution including the validation of the lists from DSWD.

In Kauswagan town, the local social welfare officer complained of an outdated DSWD list which was validated in 2015.

While the cash payouts are being managed directly by LGUs and their respective social welfare offices, the provincial government is likewise monitoring.

The provincial government had distributed food packs to all 23 municipalities to augment the food support provided by the LGUs and their barangay counterparts.

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