IBA, Zambales – – – Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has ordered the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 to implement a six-point strategy that intensifies efforts to manage the current crisis.

The order came after the Department of Health confirmed recently that two patients from the province are positive of the virus.

“We will be prepared. That is the most sensible direction we have to take in this situation. This is going to be a long battle and we are arming ourselves for it,” Ebdane said.

The provincial strategy, the governor explained, include the establishment of quarantine facilities at the two provincial borders—Sta. Cruz in the north, and Subic in the south where all new arrivals will be detained for 14 days; and extending quarantine monitoring period from 14 to 20-30 days and setting-up quarantine facilities in each municipality for this purpose.

The provincial government will also be strengthening checkpoint capability at the borders, supplying them with complete personal protection equipment (PPEs) and supplies.

Disinfection procedures will also be undertaken on both incoming and outgoing vehicles and cargo and ensuring sufficient supply of food, medicine, funds, and other essentials in the province.

Ensuring sufficient supply in the province of food, medicine, funds, and other essentials, is another strategy Ebdane said should be in place. An inventory of stocks shows that the province can support its citizens for up to three months under the current condition. Funds have been allotted for importations of other needs, but home or backyard food production program will nevertheless be initiated through the barangays, and price monitoring and control will also be implemented stringently.

Members of the Zambales IATF deliver food supplies for frontline offices and health facilities to beef up emergency response capability in the province. (PIATFphoto)

Ebdane also ordered a census of all medical professionals in private practice to be listed as “reservists” in the event that Covid-19 cases increase and the current medical staff falls short.

He also designated the President Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital in Iba as exclusive for the treatment of Covid-19 positives and PUIs. All other regular and non-Covid cases will be moved to the two district hospitals in the province or to any hospital chosen by the patients.

“We will also be anticipating problems stemming from the above proposed solutions and we must be quick to determine and implement adjustments,” the governor said.

Ebdane also revealed that he received communications from close to a hundred residents who have expressed their desire to come home. Most are students and workers in Metro Manila whose funds are now dwindling.

“While we have encouraged everyone that it would be safer to stay put in their current location, we could not really turn them away if they arrive,” the governor said. Thus measures to prevent further local transmission must be in place at once, he added.

Ebdane also said that just this week, nine residents of Masinloc were intercepted in Botolan town after walking the length of the Capas-Botolan road from Tarlac.

At the same time, Ebdane encouraged his constituents to deal with the Covid-19 emergency as a community, stressing that the more affluent could provide others with food and other necessities and the richer sectors can adopt other communities by donating funds and other resources.

 “We need to be calm, caring and cooperative,” Ebdane said. “Sama-sama tayo sa laban at kakayanin natin ito.” (PIATF)


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