ZAMBOANGA CITY, May 17 (PIA) - Barangay officials here have grown more and more concerned as residents continue to violate health protocols as COVID-19 cases continue to rise during a meeting this morning (May 17).
484 violations were reported by the local police for Sunday (May 16) alone.
"There are residents who don't seem to take the protocols seriously. When our roving patrols pass by, people immediately disperse, but afterwards, they would return and gather," said barangay official Ron Aballe. "It becomes like a cat and mouse game which is sad because people should already know by now the seriousness of the pandemic."
In response, barangay volunteers were tapped to maintain regular watch over areas where violations are usually reported. A variety of communications strategies have also been put in place such as the daily "recoridas" (mobile public address system utilizing barangay vehicles and garbage trucks), information dissemination among local shops and places of business, and utilization of volunteers as information multipliers, social media engagement. This, on top of the enforcement of the Barangay Task Force Sita (citation of tickets to health protocol violators).
The officials continue to appeal to residents to "take the matter seriously" and to abide by protocols not because they will be caught, but because they care about their health and that of their families.
Ginagene Uy, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) City Director commends the barangay officials over their strategies, but emphasized they have to be relentless in informing the constituents on maintaining health protocols at all times.
The city's risk communications team composed of the City Mayor's Office - Public Information Office (CMO-PIO), City Health Office (CHO) and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) continues to meet with the barangay information officers of COVID-19 hotspot areas to identify communication gaps and immediately address them with the support of other agencies.
The government has been urging residents to strictly abide by the health and safety protocols such as proper wearing of face masks and face shields, physical distancing and frequent sanitation to avert the further spread of COVID-19.
As of yesterday, the city already has a total of 2,482 active cases as per the COVID-19 Data Tracker. The city remains under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until May 31. (EDT/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City, photo courtesy of Rey Javier, Barangay Information Officers Network)