Gov. Albert Garcia with medical directors of private hospitals who have been vaccinated. Photo by Ernie Esconde
BALANGA CITY – The number of Covid-19 cases in Bataan is “maintained” but the provincial inter-agency task force on Covid–19 on Monday still wanted the strict implementation of safety and health protocols.
Local IATF chair Gov. Albert Garcia when asked as to the status of Covid–19 cases in the province said: “Sa ngayon maintained, tataas ng kaunti, bababa ng kaunti. Gusto pa nating pababain kaya tuloy-tuloy ang ating programa laban sa virus dito sa Bataan tulad ng Seal of Covid–free barangay, iba pang mga programa at measures at patuloy na nagfa-function pa rin ang ating mga isolation and treatment facilities.”
Under the Seal of Covid-free barangay, villages that record zero cases of the virus for a certain period of time are given cash incentives and plaques.
The governor said the second RT-PCR laboratory in Mariveles town is just awaiting permit from the Department of Health to operate and all measures to prevent the spread of the infection are in place.
Garcia said there will be a very tight coordination from the ground level in the barangays like among individuals, households to municipal and province-wide levels. “Ang border control will be as is but measures on the ground will be more strictly enforced,” he said.
“Nananawagan din ako sa lahat lalo na sa mga hepe ng bawat opisina sa gobyerno at pribado na talagang praktisin ang lahat ng health protocols dahil invisible ang ating kalaban para hindi na kakalat dahil lahat tayo ay sumusunod sa minimum health protocols,” the governor said.
He reminded his constituents that in Metro Manila, Covid- 19 cases are rising and it is not far-fetched that it will affect neighboring provinces in Central Luzon.
“It’s a matter of time na dadami ang Covid sa Central Luzon. I think other provinces dito sa ating rehiyon ay parami na ng parami. Hopefully, sa pag-iingat ng bawat isa ay hindi dumami dito sa lalawigan,” Garcia said.
“Kaya hinihiling ko sa aking mga kababayan na talagang maging disiplinado sa kanilang mga sarili dahil nasa kamay natin ang laban dito sa Covid-19,” he added.
He said that the mayors, barangay officials and the police cannot do the enforcement of health and safety protocols alone and need the cooperation of everybody.
“Talagang nasa kamay natin kaya kung mag-iingat tayo, mag–face mask, face shield, hugas ng kamay, mag-alcohol, social distancing at kung alam na may mga galing Manila kailangan i-isolate ang sarili otherwise mahahawa ang pamilya, ang kabarangay,” the governor continued.
“So, para hindi na lumala ang sitwasyon habang nagbabakuna tayo hinihiling ko ang kooperasyon ng bawat isa dito sa laban na ito,” he appealed.
Bataan police director Col. Joel Tampis said that with the rise of infections in Metro Manila, they have to be more strict in enforcing safety protocols and border checkpoints.
Garcia and sister, Dinalupihan Mayor Maria Angela Garcia, witnessed the start of vaccination of frontline medical workers of private hospitals Centro Medico Santisimo Rosario, Bataan Doctors’ Hospital and Medical Center, and St. Joseph Hospital.
First to be vaccinated were medical directors Dr. Ariel Ilaya of Centro Medico, Dr. Angel Aquino of St. Joseph, Dr. Francisco Pascual of Bataan Doctors, and some other hospital officials.
“Kinakabahan ng kaunti,” Ilaya and Pascual answered when asked how they felt before the vaccination.
To be vaccinated with 1,390 doses of AstraZeneca from Monday to Friday aside from those in the private hospitals are those from Mariveles Mental and Wellness Hospital and the Bataan Treatment and Drug Rehab Center.
The governor said 1,500 medical workers from the Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center, Mariveles District Hospital, and JC Payumo Memorial Hospital in Dinalupihan were already inoculated last week with 417 CoronaVac and more than 1,000 doses of AstraZeneca.
Mayor Garcia said “Ang araw na ito ay iniaalay natin para sa mga doctor at nurses sa kanilang sakripisyo para sa kalusugan at patuloy na pag-ganda ng kalusugan ng mga mamamayan at sana ang lahat ay makiisa.”