CAGAYAN de Oro City–The component city of El Salvador in Misamis Oriental can still sustain its COVID-19 measures until December while positive cases are still on the rise in Northern Mindanao.
Mayor Edgar Lignes said they still have available funds which will be taken from the re-aligned 20 percent development fund.
He said the city has P510 million budget for this year, and P540 million for 2021.
The mayor said he has allocated P5 million for El Salvador’s Covid-19 response for next year.
He added the city government has already spent 95 percent of the P35 million Bayanihan grant from the national government.
He said the bulk of the Bayanihan grant and the city’s own funds was spent on food packages given to most of the residents. El Salvador has about 56,000 inhabitants.
Lignes said the provincial government of Misamis Oriental also gave El Salvador P1 million in assistance, which was used to construct isolation rooms for Covid-19 suspected cases and patients, as well as in the purchase of rapid test kits and protective personal equipment.
For his part, Agripino Estrada Jr., El Salvador vice mayor, said they will approve any proposal for inclusion of Covid-19 response funds in the annual budget for 2021.
Estrada added the city council will begin budget deliberation anytime this month.
As of Sept. 30, Misamis Oriental has a cumulative 404 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 206 active, 195 recovered, and three deaths.
El Salvador has 20 cases, with 12 active cases, and eight recoveries.
Of the 12 patients positive with Covid-19, three are confined at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, while nine are staying at the city’s isolation facilities since they did not manifest any symptoms.
Meanwhile, Lignes said has approved the re-opening of some of the city’s tourist attractions with the basic health protocols still in effect.
Recently re-opened is the Divine Mercy Shrine, one of the most visited religious sites in Northern Mindanao.
Also considered as an attraction at the Divine Mercy is the 50-foot statue of Jesus Christ.
Aside from the religious shrine, Lignes said the city government has also approved the re-opening of beaches, but not swimming pools.
Among those back in operation, he said, is the Burias Shoal Marine Sanctuary in Barangay Molugan.
“We have limited the number of beach goers who can go to the Burias Shoal. We have Bantay Dagat volunteers who keep watch and ensure that health protocols are followed,” Lignes said.
Maj. Patrick Dalangin, El Salvador city police chief, said he has deployed units to patrol tourism sites that have recently opened, especially at the Divine Mercy.
We have security measure at the shrine. We have assigned a mobile patrol at the road intersection going to the Divine Mercy, which will also enter the shrine from time to time, so that they can immediately respond to any call for assistance, Dalangin said.