ANTIPOLO CITY, Rizal, Aug. 14 (PIA)-- The National Task Force against COVID-19 through the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team spearheads a meeting with local officials in Rizal Province followed by the ceremonial launching of the national government's community mask distribution initiative on August 12 at the Ynares Event Center, this city.
A localized and inter-agency approach implemented through the CODE team includes various meetings and activities including a series of mask distributions in areas most affected by COVID-19 regions and provinces namely the National Capital Region, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan.
Prior to the launching, Rizal Vice Governor Reynaldo "Junrey" San Juan Jr. welcomed all attending national government officials.
"Napakagandang initiative na magkaroon ng initiative ng code para sabay-sabay ang ating gagawin upang masugpo ang COVID-19," stated Vice Governor San Juan.
Meanwhile, Rizal Provincial Health Officer Dr. Iluminado Victoria presented a local situationer of Rizal stating that as of date, the province a total of 2,885 confirmed cases with 1,106 active cases, 1,613 recoveries and 168 deaths.
In line with this, the provincial government has successfully conducted 9,781 COVID-19 tests as of August 12. 8,018 have been taken from the field while 1,763 are from walk-in and online appointment.
Dr. Victoria added that the provincial government conducts free COVID-19 tests for Rizaleno dialysis patients every weekend starting August 8 until all patients have been tested. As of August 12, a total of 334 dialysis patients have been tested, 319 of which have been scheduled while 15 are walk-in appointments.
Rizal Governor Rebecca "Nini" Ynares then reported the provincial government's interventions in line with the PDITR strategy specifically joint efforts of all encompassed LGUs.
"Ang ating 14 na bayan sa Lalawigan ng Rizal ay nagtutulong-tulong upang ma-supress ang virus," remarks Governor Ynares.
Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III then stated the national government's support to the province as well as other LGUs during the opening moments of the CODE meeting.
"Ngayon po tayo ay nagpupulong para tayo may tumulong at makasuporta sa Rizal Province laban sa COVID-19," states Secretary Duque as he notes the relatively high numbers in the province.
Ceremonial Mask Distribution
For the ceremonial launch, several Rizalenos received masks during the activity at the Ynares Event Center and at Barangay San Roque in Antipolo City respectively.
Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go delivered a video message at the event center highlighting the free mask distribution initiative as a means to maintain minimum health standards.
Health Secretary Dudue together with Bases Conversion and Development Authority President and testing czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon, Antipolo City Mayor Andrea Ynares and former Mayor Jun Ynares led the community mask distribution at Brgy. San Roque.
The distribution activity in particular is an inter-agency cooperation project which aims to distribute face masks to poor families in communities with high COVID-19 infection rates such as Rizal Province where its launching ceremony took place.
According to Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, government assisted cooperatives and shared service facilities will produce washable reusable masks for distribution.
This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte's order for the government to distribute 20 million masks prioritizing the vulnerable sectors such as senior citizens, pregnant women, those with special health conditions and SAP beneficiaries.
Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiary data then served as the basis for distribution in local communities.
Aside from masks, 4,000 testing kits will also be provided to the provincial government for priority areas such as Antipolo City, Binangonan, Taytay and other Rizal municipalities.
Also present during the meeting proper were Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano, Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista and Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia among other national and regional executives. (PIA Rizal)