Lanao del Sur welcomes stricter MECQ in Metro Manila

Bobby Lagsa
Lanao del Sur welcomes stricter MECQ in Metro Manila

A health worker checks the temperature of a Lanao del Sur Locally Stranded Individual under quarantine in a provincial quarantine facility. Lanao del Sur welcomes the MECQ status of National Capital Region as this will give the province to recalibrate strategies and deal with the number of returnees already under the care of the local government and health units. (Photo provided by Lanao del Sur Covid-19 Response communication team)

The tighter quarantine measures mean there would be no new arrivals from Metro Manila

The Lanao del Sur provincial government welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to put the National Capital Region (NCR) back to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) for 2 weeks because this would stop the arrival here of flights from Manila.

This province’s relief on the recent turn of events in Metro Manila was based on its sad experience in its fight to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Lanao del Sur was besieged by a surge of coronavirus infections because of the unplanned influx of stranded residents and returning overseas Filipinos since July 1, 2020.

Based on its records, Sheila Devnani-Ganda of the office of the provincial governor said that 9,033 ROFs/LSIs have arrived here.

Of the 9,033 arrivals, 172 tested positive of the coronavirus, since the outbreak. There were only 9 local transmissions as of Tuesday, August 4, but there are 18 active COVID-19 cases in the province.

Lanao del Sur governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr said that they have deployed response teams at Laguindingan Airport, and seaports of Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis and Iligan cities to assist their returning residents.

“We have our provincial teams deployed in this areas and we don’t choose schedules since the ports opened, we are there to manage our LSIs,” Adiong said.

Adiong said their residents are screened and processed at the provincial facilities in Marawi City where they undergo Rapid Diagnostic Test before they are sent home to their hometowns for the mandatory self-quarantine period.

“We make sure that no one goes on quarantine unscreened, untested, if a resident is reactive to RDT, we test for RT-PCR on the same day,” Devnani-Ganda said.

Devnani-Ganda added that the provincial government purchased RDT test kits. “The provincial government has purchased 7,500 RDT kits already. We also added 300 RDT kits. Another 3,000 RDT kits are coming from Manila. We do not rely from the test kits provision of DOH,” Devnani-Ganda said.

Devnani-Ganda added that after screening and testing at the provincial facility, LSIs with nonreactive RDT results are endorsed to their municipal LGUs for the mandatory facility or home quarantine.

Respite from COVID-19 LSI/ROFs

Zia Alonto Adiong of the provincial COVID-19 response and member of the BARMM Parliament said that the declaration of MECQ in NCR meant that there would be a pause of outbound flight from Manila. This would give the province a break from influx LSI/ROFs.

“The temporary pause on outbound flights from Manila brought by the latest MECQ declaration over the NCR reduces the number of arriving LSIs & ROFs, thus, granting us the time to recalibrate our strategies and deal with the number of returnees already under the care of our local government and health units,” Alonto said.

Alonto added that the break would also give health workers serving at the front lines a chance to recharge. “This would also provide the time needed by our medical workers and frontliners to regain strength as we proceed on to full-speed responses once the MEQC status of NCR is lifted after its 14-day effect,” he added.

“No fewer than an average of 100 persons arrived daily, almost reaching the maximum capacity of our quarantine facility. Even the holiday for Eid Adha was no exception as 156 LSIs & ROFs arrived on that day,” Alonto said.

Alonto said: “We will use this time to allow our frontliners to rest, recalibrate our interventions & re-assess our data while trying to regain our strength to better our emergency responses.”

“We are both trying to heal the wounds by the siege and trying to heal the our people from the infection. Many of our LSIs are in fact internally displaced persons,” Alonto added.

Lanao del Sur and Marawi City are dealing with multiple crises. The on-going recovery and reconstruction of the city brought by the Marawi siege and the current national public health emergency brought by COVID-19 pandemic. –

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