DAVAO DEL NORTE, July 2 (PIA) - COVID-19 positive cases here was logged highest at 10 sometime in April driving local chief executives to lockdown and tighten borders.
"Karon sa 2nd wave naa kitay 34 ka positive sa Davao del Norte. Kuratan mong tanan noh? (Now at the second wave, we have 34 positive cases in Davao del Norte. You're shocked, aren't you)," Davao del Norte Provincial Governor Edwin I. Jubahib said during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) expecting his audience to get surprised of the soar in number of COVID-19 positive cases.
But he consoled them with the fact that the province stays free of "local transmission" of the dreaded pandemic which number of positive cases in the Philippines was logged by the Department of Health at a total of 37,514 as of 4:00 PM on June 30, 2020.
He gave credit due to strategies of local chief executives who had tightened controls to spare respective local government units (LGUs) from massive spread of COVID-19 infection.
Defenses vs COVID-19
He highly noted the setting up of isolation rooms and isolation facilities in all LGUs among the major defenses against local transmission as the provincial government continues to fetch returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs).
Through its Hatid Probinsiya Program (in line with the Balik Probinsya Program of the national government), the provincial government has fetched some 2,000 OFWs and LSIs from Davao International Airport and placed them at quarantine facilities of the province set up at the Davao del Norte Gym and at the Provincial Sports and Youth Development (PSYDO) building.
The Quick Response (QR) Code contact tracing system is another strategy that Jubahib cited in his SOPA, to stave off COVID-19 local transmission by quickly tracing contacts of those who would be found positive, especially now that local government units are at the receiving end of the Balik Probinsya Program beneficiaries, particularly OFWs.
Dili man pud pwede nga dili nato dawaton sa atong probinsya kay ato man ning mga igsoon dinhi sa Davao del Norte. (We cannot refuse them because they are our brothers and sister here in Davao del Norte)," he said in an adlib of his prepared SOPA.
Running along effectively in preventing local transmission is presence of COVID-19 testing center at the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) based in Tagum City.
Jubahib was thankful of DRMC's capability to test COVID-19 , cutting time of waiting for results of swab testing that used to come from an accredited government facility in Davao City.
Saving from Hunger
Before this noted capacity to handle COVID-19 cases of the Province together with its component LGUs, Davao del Norte was also caught defending its constituents from hunger in the midst of imposed lockdown due to community quarantine policies in consonance with the declaration of Public Health Emergency by President Rodrigo Duterte in March 2020.
Jubahib revealed in his SOPA that the provincial government re-aligned P270 million worth of funds for relief assistance; for set up of isolation and quarantine facilities and decontamination chambers; and for purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), medical equipment, disinfectant substances on top of the amount spent in implementing quarantine protocols and control measures to guard against COVID-19 infection.
He said the PLGU food pack distribution drive benefitted a total of 371,035 families in the first round while a total of 371,925 received the same assistance in the second round.
On top of the what they received during the rounds of food distribution, 25,086 barangay functionaries got additional food packs from the PLGU. Added food packs were also given to 23,930 drivers of public utility jeepneys, tricycles and single motors.
The same were given to 951 security check point personnel; to 100 Muslim Mosques; 60 church parishes; to 1,621 pastors of various churches.
Jubahib personally went with the wagon during hauling of food packs to barangays to target sectors and individuals.
He summed up total number of sacks of rice distributed at 113,716 with a corresponding value at PhP252,424200. Along with the distributed rice were 29,728 total boxes of sardines worth PhP42,123,790.
On top of these food aid, the PLGU also distributed 100,406 facemasks to residents of Davao del Norte while PPEs, hygiene kits were distributed to doctors, nurses and other front-liners in defense against COVID-19 massive infection.
To sustain efforts against hunger and social unrest spawned by COVID-19 pandemic, Jubahib recently launched the KAAGAP or "Kausa sa agrikultura ug panginabuhian sa Barangay" program.
His thrust is to turn idle lands and empty home backyard spaces into productive agriculture lots. He is widely promoting gardening and agricultural production province-wide.
He said that some 300 Provincial Capitol employees have been deployed to barangays, serving as barangay extension workers to roll out KAAGAPAY Program implementation.
Jubahib reported that 29,000 seedling of coffee; 9,900 Majogany seedlings; 15,000 Falcata; 13,000 Cardava; 1000 coconut seedlings; 10 sacks kamote; 253 packs of veggie seeds and 23,000 seedling of abaca had already been distributed to various areas target for massive agricultural production.
He also place planting of Sorghum under the KAAGAPAY program, targeting to also benefited banana plantation devastated by so-called "Panama disease" or fusarium wilt.
The PLGU has also installed 10 units of solar power system to light up CAFGU detachment sites in support to efforts of securing areas of KAAGAPAY massive agricultural production. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)