DAVAO ORIENTAL, 30 June (PIA)-City of Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat is banking on the presence of isolation and health facilities to check any possibility of local transmission of COVID-19 along with the people's adherence to health protocols.
Guesting in one episode of the One Davao Virtual Presser, Rabat cited the LGU establishment of isolation facility among the factors of readiness of the City of Mati to open borders and accept visitors to revitalize the city's tourism industry.
She said that the idea to prioritize an isolation and quarantine facility was broached after a meeting with Davao local chief executives (LCEs) and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, chair of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19.
"Ang ginawa po namin (What we did), we did a re-alignment of our budget and through IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) we were able to move and we established the isolation facility -- an alternate care facility, for swab testing of PUIs, and for PUMs, in one facility," she said.
In May this year, Mayor Rabat forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Mati Clergy to use the Milagrosa Retreat Center as a facility to keep persons under investigation (PUIs) or those waiting for results of swab testing.
The city government reportedly spent P10 million to rehabilitate and turn the entire compound of the retreat center which also sets up quarters for medical and health frontliners on duty, into an Alternate Care facility .
With the city's fully functioning Alternate Care facility, Rabat said the city "is now ready to accept visitors" who, she said, can go to the facility just in case they feel and manifest symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
She revealed that the city's Alternate Care facility had already been acknowledged by the Department of Health as capable of handling COVID-19 cases while waiting for confirmatory results of swab testing that can only be handled by two government health facilities of the Davao Regional Medical Center based in Tagum City in Davao del Norte and the Southern Philippines Medical Center based in Davao City.
She confirmed that the Inter-agency Task Force of the City of Mati no longer brings COVID-19 patients to DRMC in Tagum but confines the patient at the Alternate Care facility of the city government.
"Our front-liners are very competent our and they are trained well. Dito namin ina-address; kaya nila," she said referring to the city's isolation facility and its capability to care for COVID-19 patients.
The city government is on currently applying for accreditation of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) for its Alternate Care facility to roll self-sustaining operation.
"If may mga Philhealth patients, Philhealth will reimburse us for expenses," Rabat explained.
Along this line of preparation of controlling COVID-19 cases, Rabat cautioned residents of Mati and visitors against violating of health protocols particularly on wearing of masks, physical distancing, and hand sanitizing.
"Kamong taga Mati , kamong mga taga Region, I know you have to come and see Mati; kasi sabi nga 'paradise' dito. Ang ang hinangyo ko lang sa inyo, you can be entertained here butg just follow the protocols. (Mati residents and those from the Rgion, I know you have to come and see Mati because they say it is paradise here. What I am asking you is, you can be entertained here, but just follow protocols.)," she said.
She made the emphasis as she had foreseen the possibility of local COVID-19 transmission to crop up once people violate health protocols.
"I don't see any reason except kung ang tao ang magpabaya (except when people would be negligent). That's the threat, the biggest threat kung ang tao dili musonud sa protocols (if people would no longer follow protocols.)," she said. (PIA XI/ Jeanevive Duron Abangan)