Governor Melchor Diclas posed this in a meeting of the Provincial Inter-Agency(PIATF)- COVID-19 Task Force as a measure in containing the spread of the virus.
There are municipal ordinances on quarantine and health safety standard protocols against COVID 19, but enforcement of said health protocols has to be strictly monitored by the barangay officials who are the primary implementers of government policies in the barangays.
Based on the records of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, except for Itogon, Kabayan and Tublay, all of the municipalities of Benguet and the provincial government have approved their respective ordinances on COVID-19 quarantine and health safety protocols with corresponding penalties.
The health safety protocols include mandatory wearing of face masks, maintaining physical distancing, and frequent hand washing, among others.
With the strict enforcement of the ordinance, those reprimanded may be apprehensive to violate again the IATF’s health standards, said Diclas.
Earlier, the Provincial IATF issued an advisory reducing to three days the wake period as a measure to control mass gathering.
Holding long wakes is a cultural practice in the highlands, but this was observed as one of the reasons of the increase of COVID cases in the province.
“We have to innovate ways. We are not disregarding our culture but have to look into ways of preventing the spread of the disease,” said Diclas.
Barangays are also tasked to report of deaths, weddings and similar occasions to the municipal government to ensure monitoring of compliance to health protocols.
Monitoring of such activities should be sustained to reduce the transmission of the disease, Diclas said.
Meanwhile, one concern raised regards the protocols to be followed for the dead who expired in their homes particularly on whether or not they be subjected to swabbing.
“We may not know if they have contracted the disease or not and who knows they may be the source of infection,” Diclas said.
While awaiting the DOH protocol on this, the municipal health officers will do the assessment on the dead person whether for swabbing or not, as agreed during the meeting. (JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro