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DILG warns brgy execs not to politicize relief goods

April 1, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned it will press charges against any barangay officials who will politicize the distribution of relief goods. In a news released yesterday, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he will not hesitate to file charges against erring barangay officials who wil pliticized the relief distribution "this time of national calamity if warranted by evidence." Año issued the statement as some local government units (LGUs) and barangays started distributing relief goods due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis. He urged the barangay officials to set aside politics and cater to those who need it the most. “In these trying times, let us not make it harder for our constituents by requiring them to present their voter’s ID first before granting them the relief goods. Instead, our LGUs and barangays must see to it that we prioritize the poorest of the poor and not their friends and relatives,” said DILG Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe of Region 10. Agabe reiterated that the DILG secretary will not hesitate to file charges against barangay officials injecting politics into relief distribution at this time of national calamity if warranted by evidence. As per DILG Central Office, the newly signed Republic Act (RA) 11469 otherwise known as “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act” provides penalties to LGU officials disobeying national government policies or directives during this period of national emergency. Section 6 of RA 11469 imposes imprisonment of two months or a fine of not more than One Million pesos or both, at the discretion of the court, for violations of the said law. With this, the regional director called for the local government units and barangays to ensure that their policies are consistent with the national directives to avoid confusion and unfairness within their communities. "COVID-19 is already a serious concern that we need to address; thus, we are calling our leaders to step up and ensure that they are contributing solutions and not aggravating the problems we are facing now," Agabe said.

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NBI-10, govt agencies seize Thermal scanners worth P1.9m

March 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation, Region 10 (NBI-10) led other government agencies in confiscating some 203 pieces of Thermal scanners at a house in Barangay Gusa this city on March 24. Authorities said the fever detectors against virus worth P1.9 million were confiscated during an entrapment operation conducted by the NBI, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Regulatory and Compliance Board (RCB), and local officials of Barangay Gusa. NBI-10 Regional Director Patricio Bernales Jr. said the confiscated items were found stored in a residence allegedly owned by a person identified only by officials as a certain Mr. Chong in Barangay Gusa. Bernales said the thermal guns can be bought online but customers have to get the items personally. He said the owner claimed he was a licensed government supplier, and is affiliated with the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps). “We confiscated the items since it is overpriced and the products have no labels,” he said, adding among the violations committed are the Republic Act (RA) 7581 or the Price Act signed into law on May 27, 1992 and RA 9711, otherwise known as as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act of 2009. Bernales said the owner, Mr. Chong, can be held liable. Antonio Resma Jr., head of the RCB, said the business owner did not present any legal document during the operation. “They failed to present appropriate and necessary certificate of product registration and license to operate from the supplier as mandated as by the FDA advisory 2020-434 and RA 9711, mandatory labeling requirement,” Resma said. Bernales said the seized items will be presented as evidence in court, but added they may request to have them distributed in various government agencies.

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Oro dads pass anti-patient’s dishonesty law of 2020

March 25, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The City Council of Cagayan de Oro approved an ordinance that would punish patients who tell lies to the attending health personnel in times of state-declared health emergency. Known as the “Anti-Patient’s Dishonesty Law of 2020,” the ordinance penalizes a dishonest patient of a one-year imprisonment or a fine of not less than P1,000 but not more than P5,000. The local legislators approved the ordinance to “protect health workers, quarantine officers, other front liners and the general public from patients who put others at risk by being dishonest about their travel history and symptoms. The ordinance also provides that any person who are required to accomplish information sheet, data form, declaration or any similar document, shall state the truth and disclose all relevant information as may be required or may be asked by the health personnel such as but not limited to nurse, physician or their assistants. Those found to have knowingly and deliberately lie, committed dishonesty and/or withheld relevant information shall be meted the penalty of imprisonment and fine.

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(Updated) Truck rammed checkpoint 3 persons killed, 1 critical

March 21, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Three persons, one them in critical condition, manning a community quarantine checkpoint, were killed in a vehicular mishap in Bukidnon Friday night. Lt. Col.  Casan Ali, chief of the Maramag Police Station, identified the fatalities Jomalyn Buhayon, 34, Margie Maribao, both Barangay Health Worker (BHW), and a village (barangay) councilman Aldren Galteira, all residents of North Poblacion, Maramag, Bukidnon. Attending physician Dr. Perciles Tamsi of the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital declared Buhayon and Maribao dead on arrival, while Galteira expired at the Lavina Hospital while undergoing treatment. Ali said that another BHW in critical condition is Beth Lumanca, now confined in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Lavina Hospital in Bukdinon. Ali said that the victims were manning a “Community Quarantine” checkpoint along the Sayre Highway in Maramag when a 10-wheeler truck rammed on them past 11:00 payem Friday. He said that the responding police immediately arrested the suspect identified as Jemuel G. Ompoc, 24, the drive of the 10-wheeler truck with plate number MDX-119. An initial investigation found out that Ompoc was reportedly drunk while driving the 10-wheeler truck used to haul sugarcanes. Ali said that Ompoc was on his way to Don Carlos, another neighboring municipal town of Maramag when the accident occurred. He said that the police are now filing appropriate charges against the suspect while the 10-wheeler owned by a certain Mariel F. Sabado, of Kimanait, Pangantucan, Bukidnon, is impounded at the Maramag Police Station. Provincial Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr. has declared the entire province of Bukidnon under Enhance Community Quarantine and establishment of quarantine checkpoints in the province. Zubiri made the declaration in response to reports that the dreaded COVID-19 virus might have infected Bukidnon following the infection of his son Sen. Miguel Zubiri. Sen. Zubiri said that he was diagnosed COVID-19 positive, although he has no travel history abroad.

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WHO calls for urgent, aggressive actions to combat COVID-19, as cases soar in South-East Asia Region

March 18, 2020

NEW Delhi--The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday called on member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat COVID-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives. “The situation is evolving rapidly. We need to immediately scale up all efforts to prevent the virus from infecting more people,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region. Eight of the 11 countries of WHO South-East Asia Region have confirmed cases of COVID-19. While Thailand has 177 confirmed cases, Indonesia 134, India 125, Sri Lanka 19, Maldives 13, Bangladesh 5, Nepal and Bhutan one each. These numbers are increasing quickly. “More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. While this is an indication of an alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of COVID-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently,” the Regional Director said. Looking at the numbers, some countries are clearly heading towards community transmission of COVID-19, the Regional Director said, adding this should best be prevented. Of critical importance are continued efforts to detect, test, treat, isolate and trace contacts. Simple public health measures are critical. Practicing hand hygiene, covering your cough and sneeze, and practicing social distancing cannot be emphasized enough, Dr Khetrapal Singh said. “This alone has the potential to substantially reduce transmission.” However, if community transmission does set in, countries would need to gear their responses to slow down transmission, as well as end outbreaks. Emergency mechanism would then need to be further scaled up. A network of health facilities and hospitals for triage and surge would need to be activated to avoid overcrowding. Self-initiated isolation by people with mild diseases would continue to be the most important community intervention to reduce the burden on health system and reduce virus transmission. Testing of all suspected cases, symptomatic contacts of probable and confirmed cases, would still be needed. “We need to be geared to respond to the evolving situation with the aim to stop transmission of COVID-19 at the earliest to minimize the impact of the virus that has gripped over 150 countries in a short span of time, causing substantial loss to health of people, societies, countries and economies. Urgent and aggressive measures are the need of the hour. We need to act now,” the Regional Director said. (PR)

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Bukidnon imposes travel restrictions

March 17, 2020

CAGAYAN de Oro City--The province of Bukidnon imposed travel restrictions effective Tuesday while ordering all incoming drivers and passengers passing through border checkpoints to undergo health protocols. Bukidnon is a province abating south of Misamis Oriental’s borders and is considered is the shortest way to Davao via the Bukidnon-Davao national highway road. Provincial Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr. issued an Executive Order cancelling all public and private activities, closure of private resorts, spas and entertainment houses in the landlocked province of Bukidnon. Zubiri’s executive order also limit the movement of government workers except those rendering vital services to sustain the operation of the provincial government, health workers and the members of the press. All passengers of incoming private and public vehicles shall undergo the thermal scanning while the driver must present government issued identification card, travel history, address and contact numbers. Zubiri ordered the joint police and military forces to strictly inspect all passengers of incoming private and public vehicles passing through the Bukidnon borders. The requirements are in consonance with the protocol issued by the Department of Health (DOH) as precautionary measures to detect and prevent the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 virus, Zubiri said. Zubiri also directed Bukdinon residents, especially the elderly with illnesses and other old-age related diseases, to stay at home. He said that those who would resist and defy the Executive Order would be dealt with the full force of the law. On Monday, Senator Miguel Zubiri, the eldest son of Gov. Zubiri admitted to have been diagnosed positive for the COVID-19 virus. Sen. Zubiri, who maintained that he has no travel history, underwent a routine COVID-19 check along with the members of the Senate and Cabinet officials when diagnosed positive with the COVID-19 virus.

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