AS the entire National Capital Region (NCR) gears up for transitioning to modified general community quarantine from modified enhanced security quarantine (MECQ), fear continues to hover above our heads as we all know that COVID-19 is still very much around and no cure is available yet.
In Manila, residents are very lucky to have a mayor and a vice mayor working hand-in-hand and non-stop, by putting into actions all of the plans that they have made way ahead of time and in preparation for the outbreak and the anticipated surge of COVID cases once the ECQ gets lifted, as what will likely happen in a few days from now or beginning June 1.
The advantage of the fact that Mayor Kois Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna are partymates and long-time friends worked greatly for the benefit of the city and its residents as well.
Mayor Kois encounters no problems in realizing his plans that need allocation since he has a very supportive vice mayor in the person of Honey who, as concurrent presiding officer of the Manila City Council, naturally wields influence over most of the city councilors. Add to this the support of majority floorleader Atty. Joel Chua and president pro tempore Atty. Jong Isip.
Easily, among major cities in the country, Manila indeed leads the way and has proven to be the country’s capital city, thanks to the kind of leadership that Mayor Kois had shown amid the COVID-19 crisis.
As early as last year, Mayor Kois had begun establishing the Manila Infectious Disease Control Center (MIDCC) occupying the entire tenth floor at the Sta. Ana Hospital.
Now, the said center headed by hospital director Dr. Grace Padilla is where COVID-19 patients are brought, once they turn out to be positive for the coronavirus during confirmatory testing.
Although relatively new, Padilla reported a good number of recoveries, so that Mayor Kois is so proud of the center and its staff.
Even before the coronavirus disease was declared as a ‘pandemic,’ Mayor Kois already directed Dr. Padilla to put the whole ninth floor of the same hospital in readiness should the number of patients exceed the capacity of the center.
Apart from allocating the necessary budget for food packs as early as when rumors of quarantine imposition began circulating, Mayor Kois had already began scouting for food items that the city can purchase and repack for distribution to the residents so that they will have something to eat while under quarantine.
Twice, each of the families in the city now numbering 680,000 in all based on lists given by barangay chairs, were given P1,000 financial aid called CACAF or city amelioration crisis assistance fund. This required legislation by the city council and Vice Mayor Honey was automatically there to help and showed readiness and willingness to work overtime.
Mayor Kois and Vice Mayor Honey, along with Chua and Isip, also formulated the implementing guidelines for the passage of an ordinance that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory while in Manila.
The monthly allowances for senior citizens, solo parents, persons with disabilities and students from the city-run universities were given in lump sum and 10,300 regular employees of the city were also given their midyear bonus already, so that they can use the money to cope with the situation.
As all these are happening, Mayor Kois was also preoccupied with building the city’s own quarantine facilities instead of relying on national government which, as we all know, continues to be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases.
Mayor Kois targets to initially establish at least a dozen quarantine facilities by utilizing sports complexes and the city’s public elementary and high schools which may translate to a total of at least 5,000 beds, should the need arise.
To date, the Del Pan evacuation center now turned quarantine facility is already operational, in addition to which Mayor Kois already inaugurated the new quarantine facilities at the T. Paez Integrated School, Araullo High School and the Tondo High School, among others.
More importantly, Moreno decided to embark on a major project of having its own testing laboratory, since the costs entailed by the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine is high, aside from the fact that it is also limited at the moment. The PCR testing which is the confirmatory one after one tests positive via the rapid testing kit, is so far one of the most accurate laboratory methods for detecting, tracking, and studying the coronavirus.
These are but some of the measures taken by Mayor Kois relative to the COVID-19 crisis. I could go on and on but we have spatial constraints and as of this writing, Mayor Kois and Vice Mayor Honey are far from stopping working for the benefit of the city and their constituents. Manilans could only thank God for them.
Jokjok (from Guillermo Bathan of Mariveles, Bataan)--- AMO: Inday, naalis mo na ba ‘yung mantsa sa barong Tagalog ko?/INDAY: Yes, sir! Ako pa?!/AMO: Aba, eh very good naman kung ganun! ‘Yun ang pinakamahal kong barong. Ano pinang-alis mo?/INDAY: Gunting po, sir!
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