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Iloilo’s pandemic response is why listening to science actually works

At this point, I’ve stopped being mad at people in positions of power saying something… debatable about the pandemic (again) instead of, you know, setting their priorities straight.

But even with all these wack news about the pandemic, we gotta acknowledge that some local government units have been taking initiative and providing significant results. Let’s get that special shoutout to Iloilo City’s local government unit (LGU).

Back in September, 13 barangays in Iloilo were placed under total lockdown after a spike of 600 new cases in just a week. The city itself was later placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from Sept. 25 to Oct. 9. 

According to the data posted on the Iloilo City COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center Facebook page, the city’s daily case count has been significantly decreasing since October. From an average of 53 cases a day in October, it’s now down to an average of 12 daily cases. 

Iloilo even recorded zero cases last Nov. 24. Though four cases were recorded today, that’s still a pretty big reduction from previous numbers.  How did the LGU do it? Contact tracing and mass testing.

The city implemented a contact tracing method that utilized QR codes. This provides an easier way to track people who have entered and left establishments, plus it made sure to minimize contact as residents would only need their own phones.

Though their system was overwhelmed with residents trying to register (and posed problems for people who aren’t using smartphones), this is still a great initiative implemented in a city. 

Another interesting initiative from Iloilo was the number of COVID-19 facilities they were building. In September, the city opened its third testing center. The Philippine Genome Center at UP Visayas is another COVID-19 testing hub. 

The city is also building a 1,000-bed facility and its own molecular laboratory to speed up the testing process, both constructions set to be completed in the next few months. Another COVID-19 testing lab will soon operate at Iloilo Provincial Hospital.

The Iloilo local government even honored frontliners, releasing an executive order for all national flags in the city to be flown at half mast for a week since Aug. 31, or National Heroes Day. 

This was in stark contrast to how the national government addressed frontliners earlier that same month, when President Duterte took healthcare workers’ plea for stricter lockdowns as them “demeaning the government.”

We’ve talked about how “kopyahan” (copycat) culture could benefit us in the pandemic, and we could all take note of initiatives from Iloilo’s government. Imagine if we actually listened to our healthcare workers and scientists, coupled with a sense of urgency. We could be having what Iloilo and other regional areas have right now.

 

Read more:
#KopyahanNaTo vs Competition mentality in good governance
Set your vacays aside, Miss ’Rona is still with us
WDYM ‘didn’t do anything?’ VP Leni has receipts

Art by Yel Sayo

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