Celso Regencia vows to ramp up testing, isolation to halt COVID-19 spread in Iligan


ILIGAN CITY – Scaling up testing capacity, building more health care facilities, and discouraging residents from doing home quarantine are among the key measures it plans to carry out for Iligan to be downgraded from its current modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) status.

This was the assurance made by Iligan Mayor Celso Regencia to members of the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team during their visit to this northern Mindanao city on Friday.

Regencia said the city government “will reexamine and reengineer our local strategies in containing the spread of the virus,” and that measures are now being undertaken to augment the current bed capacity of the city’s health facilities dedicated for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients.

“It is expected that very soon, especially with the assistance of NTF (national task force) Against Covid-19, the city will have ample isolation units and other laboratory facilities and mechanical ventilators in our 119-bed capacity city hospital,” Regencia said in a press release issued on Sunday.

As of Sept. 3, Iligan has recorded a total of 377 Covid-19 cases, 142 of which have already recovered while 14 have died. The city is the only area in the country that has been placed under MECQ until September 30.

According to National Policy Against Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr., the CODE Team will assist the Iligan City government in establishing a One Hospital Command, facilitate the accreditation of its Covid-19 testing laboratory, strengthen its syndromic surveillance contact tracing system, and build more health care facilities in the area.

“Ang Iligan (City) ang kaisa-isang city na under sa MECQ sa buong bansa. Dapat ang lahat ng LGUs magtulung-tulong tayo dahil Iligan City ay center spot. Dapat may 700 to 1,000 mega care facilities kaya kailangang magdagdag ng quarantine facilities at care facilities sa bawat barangay (Iligan City is the lone city under MECQ in the entire country. All LGUs should help each other because Iligan City is center spot. There should be 700 to 1.000 care facilities, so we should build more quarantine and care facilities in every barangay),” Galvez said.

DOH regional director Dr. Adriano P. Suba-an is optimistic that the “battle-tested” people of Northern Mindanao will overcome this health crisis by banding together and working hand in hand, with the continued support of the national government.

“The DOH lauds the resiliency of battle-tested people of Northern Mindanao. We appreciate their openness and humility to open themselves to come up with plans. And every time you (NTF Covid-19) come here, bringing national decision-makers, exposing us to all opportunities that you bring along with you, nagpapasalamat po kami (we are thankful),” Suba-an said.