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Contingency planning workshon on COVID-19 in San Remigio

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A contingency planning workshop on COVID-19 was held for government officials of San Remigio on January 8, 2021 at the function room of the Hagnaya Beach Resort, Hagnaya, San Remigio.

There was a total of 19 participants. They came from the following agencies or offices, namely: Municipal Engineering, Treasury, Tourism, Solid Waste Management, Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWD), Assessors, Budget, Department of Education, Philippine National Police, Rural Health Unit (RHU), Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), Accounting, Registry, Human Resources Management Office, and Municipal Agriculture Office. Mayor Mariano Martinez was also present.

For the rationale of the workshop, since COVID-19 is an epidemic and a serious health problem, a contingency plan for it should be made. It had been nine months since the first local case was reported in the Philippines and breakthroughs in describing it, controlling it and mitigating its effects have been achieved in great strides and unprecedented ways. Statistics showed that in San Remigio, there had been 61 cases since the first case was report in May 2020 until January 6, 2021.

By making a contingency plan, the local government unit reviews its gains, successes and best practices in the management of the epidemic, cites the effects it has made on the economic aspect and livelihood, family, education, health and social aspects of the people. Thus, the participants in the contingency planning document how the LGU managed the COVID-19 pandemic in their locality, the manpower, logistics and other resources poured in controlling the epidemic. Then, they cite what are the lessons learned, the needs that were not met, and the gaps between the available resources and such needs, in order to come up with measures on how to address those gaps. Once the contingency plan is formulated, it shall be approved by the local government unit. In case the worst scenarios happen, the contingency plan can be swiftly transformed into a response plan since it already identifies all the response arrangements including standby resources. The response actors shall perform their roles and responsibilities as specified in the contingency plan.

The workshop opened with an invocation, national anthem and opening remarks by Municipal Mayor Mariano Martinez. The participants were then introduced by the emcee project team leader Edgar E. Gahisan. Dr. Erlinda Posadas then gave an overview of the project implemented by the VPHCS citing the various activities on “delay, contain and mitigate the effects of the pandemic” since August 2020 until the present.

The Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Orleta B. Ursal, then presented an overview of the COVID-19 situation citing statistics of the number of cases, barangays affected, number of people swabbed, number of PUMs, number of persons placed in quarantine, number of contact tracers, number of overseas Filipino workers who had rapid tests. She then discussed about how contact tracing, distribution of sprayers and medical supplies to 27 barangays, COVID surveillance in the Hagnaya Port, duties of the health personnel in the temporary treatment and monitoring facility (TTMF) in Barangay Tambongon, data gathering of close contacts for swabbing, conversion of public elementary schools as barangay isolation centers, visits of health personnel to the homes of PUMs and PUIs, forum on COVID with BHERTs, and the TTMF accreditation by the Department of Health and PhilHealth, installation of handwashing facilities, information dissemination on COVID, swab testing for health workers, orientation for BHERTs on their roles and responsibilities, and border controls.

Project team Irish Grace Ramirez then introduced the workshop’s facilitators who were from the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO). They included Neil Angelo R. Sanchez, Rhee S. Telen, Jr. and Emily N. Lagrimas, and Josephine Aves.

Ms. Lagrimas then talked about contingency planning, its definition, its background, laws related to it, meaning of contingency plan, where to apply contingency planning, benefits of contingency planning and the need for contingency planning for COVID-19. The first workshop followed the talk of Ms. Lagrimas. The participants were grouped into three groups, namely: a. Resources, Manpower and Logistics, b. Data Management and Information/Education, and c. Protocols and Policies. Representatives from different LGU offices formed each cluster. The groups were asked to write down the gains, successes and best practices of the municipality’s management and response of COVID-19. Each group then had a representative who presented the results of the workshop written in Manila paper in the plenary session. Their answers were then synthesized by Mr. Telen.

The second workshop was on the effects of the COVID-19 on the following aspects, namely: a. Health/mental health, b. Livelihood/ employment, c. Information/education and family, d. Response capability. There was one group who answered each aspect. Representatives of each group then presented the results of the workshops in Manila paper in the plenary session.

This was followed by a plenary session where clusters were identified, namely: a. Food and Non-Food Items, b. Logistics, c. Health, d. Law and Order, e. Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), f. Education, and g. Management of the Dead and Missing (MDM). Different department heads were assigned to the clusters where they were suited.

The third workshop followed. Each cluster met and filled up contingency plan Form 6 on Needs and Activities Inventory, and Form 7 on Resources Inventory. In Form 6, the needs that are seen as gaps are identified, with the corresponding activities to meet those needs, the responsible agencies or offices involved in meeting those needs, and the time frame needed to meet those needs. In Form 7, what are identified are the specific resources that are needed to meet those needs, the quantity, unit of such resources, the agencies in charge of procuring those resources, the resource location, and the budget.

The entire proceedings were then synthesized by Ms. Lagrimas. She pointed out that the answers of the workshops will serve as inputs to making the contingency plan. The gaps that were identified in the third workshop will be addressed in terms of provision of resources to meet these gaps with the proper budget to be determined by the LGU to fund such resources. She recommended that concerned LGU officials will meet again to draft the contingency plan. Dr. Ursal stood up and said that she will take charge of seeing to it that this is done. She asked for the proceedings of the contingency planning which will be needed to come up with the contingency plan, which will then be presented to the Sangguniang Panglungsod then later to the Municipal Mayor, for approval. Ms. Lagrimas said that the PDRRMO will assist them in making the contingency plan.

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