Proposed isolation facility in Batangas can operate without LGU's approval - DOH
BATANGAS, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) Region 4-A said on Wednesday, April 22, that the COVID-19 isolation facility in Barangay Malainin in Ibaan town can be used even without the approval of the local government unit.
"Actually we can take over even without any concurrence or approval of the local (government). It’s a provincial property that the national will take over,” DOH Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said.
Janairo said that his office is waiting for the provincial board to issue a resolution and an official request letter from Batangas Governor Dodo Mandanas to get the concurrence of DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III to operate the COVID-19 facility.
The proposed Malainin isolation facility used to be an evacuation center. It can accommodate 50 patients suspected to have the coronavirus. It is meant to address the possible surge of cases in the province.
Earlier, Mandanas considered converting the Mabini Hospital and the Batangas Sports Complex into isolation facilities but the plan fell through because of their proximity to residential areas.
“Ang Malainin maganda talaga, maraming space. Pwede ko gawin yung ginawa namin ni Mayor Lani (Mercado) sa Bacoor. Container vans were transformed into wards,” Janairo said.
(Malainin is really nice, there’s so much space. We can do what Mayor Lani and I did in Bacoor.)
Janairo’s clarification was in response to the opposition of Ibaan residents led by Mayor Joy Salvame to the isolation facility for fear of the virus spreading in the town. (READ: 'Coronavirus-free' town in Batangas protests preparations for an isolation facility)
Salvame insisted that there was no coordination done with the municipal government regarding the COVID-19 facility.
Salvame stood firm with her earlier pronouncement that she objects to having the facility in the town unless it will only be for health concerns of Ibaan residents.
“Plain common sense should tell us that it is a big health risk if we will open our COVID-free municipality to infected patients" she said.
Ibaan is one of the few remaining municipalities without a COVID-19 case in the province.
In a meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Diseases held on April 20, the sentiment of Ibaan local officials was again raised by 4th district provincial board member, JP Gozos.
Gozos reiterated the appeal of Salvame and the Ibaan residents to transfer the isolation facility to another area because Ibaan remains COVID-19 free.
However, Mandanas replied that he was also appealing to Gozos to remind the municipal government of Ibaan, where Malainin is located, that a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) circular states that all local governments must have an area for isolation.
“So ang may kagustuhan at ang nag-uutos ay hindi ang probinsya, kundi ang national government,” Mandanas said.
(It is the national government and not the province that wants this and mandates this.)
As of Wednesday, there are 78 confirmed coronavirus cases in Batangas, 12 of whom have died while 13 other patients have recovered.
Nationwide, the DOH said that the number of coronavirus cases have climbed to 6,710, with 446 fatalities, and 693 others have recovered. – Rappler.com