CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno placed the city under community quarantine following the death of two women at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) who were classified by health officials as persons under investigation (PUI) for the novel coronavirus.
The women died within 24 hours after reaching NMMC. The cause of their deaths is severe acure respiratory illness. Doctors managed to get a specimen from only one of the women for COVID-19 testing. The test result was not yet known.
The community quarantine will start Friday, March 20, until further notice.
Moreno signed Executive Order (EO) No. 049-2020 which not only put the city under quarantine status but also urged Misamis Oriental, and the Bukidnon towns of Libona, Baungon, Manolo Fortich, Talakag and Malitbog to be part of an expanded quarantine territory.
On Tuesday, March 17, Moreno ordered the closure of malls, entertainment centers, bars, and other non-essential shops to discourage people from converging together.
Moreno said that placing the city under community quarantine was not an easy decision to make as he would have wanted to put a sense of normalcy even in trying times.
Moreno asked residents of the city to stay home and and only go out for essential travels.
The EO also ordered the unhampered movement of all cargoes within, to and from Cagayan de Oro, subject to random inspection with cargo, before and after delivery.
Reaching out to Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon
Moreno said that he had reached out to Misamis Oriental Governor Vincente Yvegeny Emano, this city’s congressmen Rufus Rodriguez and Rolando Uy, Misamis Oriental congressmen Christian Unabia and Juliette Uy, and Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri for a harmonized quarantine.
Moreno suggested that they work together in combating the entry of COVID-19 into the region.
He suggested that there should be a “primary checkpoint” in Bukidnon and in Magsaysay and Lugait towns in Misamis Oriental.
Magsaysay shares borders with Agusan del Norte in Caraga, while Lugait shares borders with Iligan City in Lanao del Norte.
Moreno suggested that those coming from the primary checkpoints be provided with travel pass after having gone through thermal scanning and travel routes.
Unifying local governments’ actions will save on resources and manpower, Moreno said.
Moreno said that if Cagayan de Oro and its neighboring towns establish separate checkpoints on their respective side of the border, it will be a waste of resources.
“And then every LGU will behave like we are a separate world. And that’s a nightmare,” Moreno said.
“Of course, towns can set up their own checkpoints, but we cannot have checkpoints in every town, there are 24 towns in Misamis Oriental, do we have to need 50 checkpoints?” Moreno asked.
Moreno said that the Philippine National Police and the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army agreed to the suggestion, having learned from the experiences of the security forces in Metro Manila.
Misamis Oriental Governor Emano said that he will work with the city government in whatever capacity it needed.
Emano also placed Misamis Oriental under community quarantine on Thursday afternoon, March 19.
“I am ready and willing to work with anybody. This is beyond politics now,” Emano said.
Moreno and Emano have been at odds with each other since Moreno unseated Emano’s father, Vicente Emano, in 2013.
Rodriguez said that with the huge crisis the country is facing, he is doing everything and constantly coordinating with local and national leaders to address the concerns of the people in this city.
“On the call of Mayor Oscar Moreno, I am fully supportive of all the initiatives of the LGUs to collectively address the problem,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“In this most trying times, we have to work as one. I’m humbly asking everyone to follow the government in all its mandates,” he added.
Moreno said that he and Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri talked over the phone and that Zubiri will go through with his proposal.
Moreno said staying at home is still one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, the Philippines has 217 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with 8 recoveries and 17 deaths.
The global death toll, meanwhile, has reached 9,020, with 3,245 of the fatalities in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 217,510, with 80,928 of the infections in China. The virus has spread to at least 157 countries. – Rappler.com