Governor Melchor Diclas said that while it is a tradition for the people to have large gatherings like reunions, parties and other crowd-drawing events during the Christmas holidays, the PIATF appeals that these activities be avoided for the meantime as a way to contain COVID-19 transmission.
Diclas explained that “there is a need to restrict and avoid these events especially crowd drawing events to avoid the spread of the virus which already affected the lives of the people of Benguet since March or the start of the pandemic.”
For this year’s holidays, let it be intimate celebrations with close family members only in your their residences or conduct online activities which can be attended by family members even those abroad, he said.
He also called on residents to avoid unnecessary travels and reiterated that travels are still for the access of essential goods and services.
“Mayat kuma nga tadta Christmas ket nasalun-at tayo amin. Awan kuma ma iisolate, awan kuma ti agmaymaysa ijay kwarto isunga protectaran tayo bagbagi tayo ken suruten ti health protocols, (This Christmas season, my wish is that everybody would have good health, no one would be isolated and be alone in isolation facilities so there is a need to protect ourselves (from the virus) and follow all health protocols,” said Diclas
The governor reiterated the advisory for the public to always adhere to the mandatory wearing of facemask, proper hygiene, observing social and physical distancing, and increasing immunity and staying healthy.
Recently, the Department of Health also issued Department Circular No. 2020-0355 or the Reiteration of the Minimum Public Health Standards for COVID-19 Mitigation during the Holidays to provide guidance on how to observe minimum public health standards during the holidays and ensure the health and safety of everyone participating in celebrations and activities.
It specifically provides risk-mitigation measures for the public to adhere to during the holiday season such as: Limiting the number of people in social gatherings and activities; Avoiding activities that may include traveling; Opting to activities with only a short duration of contact; Practicing BIDA (B-bawal walang mask, I-i-sanitize ang mga kamay, D-dumistansya ng isang metro, A-alamin ang totoong impormasyon); Avoiding contact on high-touch surfaces; Ensuring proper ventilation in venues; and Increasing physical and mental resilience.
The DILG also encouraged the local government units to pass ordinances banning karaoke and caroling activities during the holiday season as part of the measures being taken by the agency to prepare for the Christmas season, which experts and officials fear, could lead to a new surge in COVID-19 cases.
Aside from the PIATF Advisory, the local government of Kapangan and Tublay already issued orders on the prohibition of caroling and regulation of mass gathering events during the Christmas season in their respective localities which should be followed by their constituents. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)
By Redjie Melvic Cawis