August 9, 2020--Rev. Fr. Ricardo A. Virtudazo officiated the blessing of 80-Bed Municipal Care and Containment Center (MCCC) of LGU Basilisa at the Municipal Gymnasium, Brgy Tag-abaca, Basilisa, Dinagat Islands, a project made possible by realigning existing budgets for FY 2020 for the unprogrammed PPAs in response to the continuing Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic hounding the world.

This was followed by an inspection conducted by municipal officials and members of the Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force (MIATF) on COVID-19 led by Mayor Ozzy Reuben M. Ecleo to ensure all necessary components and amenities are present prior to officially opening on August 11, 2020.

The Basilisa Care and Containment Facility aims to cater to Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) who are considered Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) coming into Basilisa to undergo the Mandatory 14-day quarantine having come from localities with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

As pointed out in memorandum from DILG Usec Epimaco V. Densing III dated April 14, 2020, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (RA 11469) and other national issuances enjoins all government agencies and LGUs to render full assistance to and cooperate with each other to mobilize the necessary resources to undertake critical, urgent and appropriate disaster response aid and measures in a timely manner to curtail and eliminate the threat of COVID-29.

This was the municipality’s compliance to such a call, among other things.

Pursuant to DILG Advisory dated April 28, 2020 on the Easing of the Review Process of the FY 2020 GAD plan and budget of LGUs in view of the COVID-19 situation, the eased up review process by the Provincial Government and the DILG Provincial Office facilitated a smoother realignment of the municipality to provide for enhanced social protection programs and services to address the unique needs of women. Pursuant also to DILG Memorandum Circular No 2020-079 dated May 1, 2020 on the guidelines to use Peace and Order (POC) funds for COVID-19 related Programs, Projects, Services and Activities and realign funds from the POC budget as the Municipal Peace and Order Council moved to treat the health crisis as also a peace and order and public safety concern.The convergence of two funds paved the way for the conversion of the gymnasium into an isolation center, which primarily features two main divisions, dividing the 40 quarters for females from the 40 for males and the procurement of beds for each quarter as well as curtains for privacy, and other materials.

The setting up and operationalization of MCCCs in the municipality was deemed crucial as more and more Basilisanhons are still coming in the ports of Dinagat Islands to come home and seek refuge from this pandemic. The existing MCCC situated at the Tag-abaca Central Elementary school holds only up to 36 PUMs but will have to be vacated for use by the Department of Education in preparation for the resumption of classes.

Province-wide, all coming in from outside Dinagat Islands is subjected to 14-day quarantine at Municipal Care and Containment Centers. 

As of this writing, only Dinagat Islands and Batanes are the remaining COVID-free provinces in the country.

By MLGOO Don Manuelo O. Patrimonio

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