MANILA – Laguna must be removed from the roster of areas in the country that have been considered as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) “hotspots,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said on Saturday.
During his visit to the province, Andanar dared the residents to make sure that the number of Covid-19 infections in the area would decline in the coming days.
He posed the challenge as he lamented that Laguna is among the places that have recorded the highest confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country.
“We must make sure na mawala tayo doon sa listahan na mataas ang mga na-infect ng Covid-19 (that we will be removed from the list of areas with the most number of Covid-19 infections). So let us work together,” Andanar said. “Siguro naman hindi papayag ang mga taga-Laguna na manatili tayong hotspot o isa na nandoon sa mga pinakamataas (Perhaps, Laguna residents would not allow its province to remain as Covid-19 hotspot).”
Andanar has been assigned to monitor the Covid-19 response of Laguna provincial government, based on Resolution 62 approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
IATF-EID Resolution 62 mandates Andanar and his fellow members of the task force to strictly monitor the local government units‘ (LGUs) health system performance, critical care capacity, and stringent compliance to surveillance, isolation, and treatment protocols.
Andanar sought to have a “healthy” competition with other IATF-EID members by making sure that local transmission of Covid-19 in Laguna would be reduced.
He ensured that the provincial government would receive support from the national government.
”So kailangan talaga, we should really work together, hindi po talaga pwedeng LGU lang. Hindi ho pwede na province lang. Eh kailangan ho na kasama ang national government (It’s important that we should really work together and LGU would not act alone. A province should not act alone. It needs the help of the national government),” Andanar said.
Andanar noted that five places in Laguna are deemed as “critical areas” because they are near Metro Manila, which remains the epicenter of Covid-19 in the country.
One of the strategies to fight Covid-19 in Laguna is to ensure ”proper” coordination between the business industry and village officials, Andanar said.
Andanar said lack of coordination between the business sector and villages is among the problems of the Laguna government.
”Ang majority ng mga apektado ay ’yung mga nagta-trabaho sa mga industriya. So mahigit 77 porsiyento (Majority of workers, around 77 percent of them, are affected)… Kasi halimbawa meron pong ini-report yung industriya na may sakit ng Covid-19 at hindi po tatanggapin sa barangay dahil kulang nga sa komunikasyon. So yun po ang ating dapat trabahuhin (Some village officials are reportedly not accepting workers infected with Covid-19 because of lack of communication. That is what we need to address),” he said.
‘Accurate, responsible’ information
As PCOO chief, Andanar also vowed to use his office and its attached agencies to fight “fake” news against the government’s Covid-19 response.
He said PCOO would take advantage of using state-owned televisions, radios, and news outlets to help Laguna keep its residents informed about its fight against the disease.
Andanar made the vow as he acknowledged that many have become “victims of fake news” because of an “infodemic” amid the Covid-19 crisis.
“So accurate, responsible information is very important for us to have effective communication. Pag wala po, hindi po tayo responsable, hindi po tayo accurate, diyan po tayo nagkakaproblema (If we are not responsible and accurate, we will have a problem),” he said. (PNA)