BUTUAN CITY – The city government of Surigao will begin its four-day workweek on Monday (March 23) in a move to protect government workers from the threat of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Mayor Ernesto U. Matugas, Jr. who made the announcement on March 20, said the time of work of City Hall employees will also be adjusted from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday.
Matugas also clarified city government offices involved in medical, rescue, garbage collection and economic enterprise are not included in the four-day workweek and will continue with their normal operations.
Last Friday’s public address also aims to allay the fears of residents on Covid-19 and to counter the spread of disinformation– especially on social media–on the status of the city in the midst of the continuing threat of the said disease.
“I know that all of you are troubled due to the health crisis we are facing. There are many speculations and fake news circulating in the social media on the status of the Covid-19 in Surigao City. These hearsays only make matters worse by creating panic in our midst,” Matugas said.
Zero Covid-19 case
The mayor reiterated that as of Friday (March 20), Surigao City has no confirmed Covid-19 case, although it has recorded six patients under investigation (PUI) and 135 persons under monitoring (PUMs).
“Prevention is better than cure. This is why the city government has issued several guidelines through executive orders, to continue our enhanced monitoring, response, and prevention of Covid-19,” the mayor said.
He pointed out that upon President Rodrigo Duterte’s national public health emergency declaration on March 8, the city government immediately heightened its monitoring activities through its Covid-19 task force.
“On March 11, we issued the health advisory on Covid-19, informing the public of the use of thermal scanners for all arriving passengers, and directing all establishments and offices to provide free use of rubbing alcohols or sanitizers to their customers,” Matugas said.
The advisory, the public is also reminded to avoid unnecessary travels and mass gathering, to observe social distancing and observe proper cough etiquette and refrain from spreading fake news.
“On March 12, after discussions with the Department of Education (DepEd) and other stakeholders, we issued Executive Order No. 21-2020 declaring class suspension at all levels, from March 16 to 22, 2020. The class suspension was extended until March 30, 2020, through a memorandum ordered by Governor Francisco T. Matugas,” he said.
Matugas said despite the issuance of E.O 21, information continues to reach his office of some tertiary schools in Surigao City that opted to conduct online classes.
“May I remind again all the teachers and school administrators to prioritize the safety of the students, since some students live in far-flung barangays with no internet access, while some students have no personal computers or laptops at home,” he said.
“Let us not compel them to come here in the urban barangay to access the internet at computer shops. It will defeat the purpose of class suspension. Make the students stay at home away from public places,” he added.
Matugas also noted that Executive Order No. 21 issued on March 13 transferred the docking area of inter-island passenger vessels, from the city port boulevard to the Philippine Ports Authority base port.
The transfer of the docking area, he added, was necessary to ensure that all arriving passengers in Surigao City will undergo thermal scanning.
“We also issued Executive Order No. 23 that prohibits any mass gathering and activities in the city. We are doing this to prevent the possible spread of the virus by practicing social distancing measures since the inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases said the Covid-19 can infect a large number of people,” the mayor said.
He also asked the religious leaders in the city to suspend religious gatherings to prevent the spread of the disease.
“As much as possible, the city government will not use force. I know they are religious and devoted to their church but they should not forget that they are citizens and they have the responsibility. This is only temporary,” Matugas said.
The observance of curfew hours is also strictly implemented in the city and the limit of hours of operations of business establishments.
“Instead of temporary suspension of business establishments, we decided to limit their operating hours by imposing a city-wide curfew, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.,” he said.
The city government also conducted disinfection of public places such as the children’s playground, parks, the public market, waiting areas, the city boulevard, and other public places as part of preventive measures. (PNA)