BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Rep. Francisco Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) said yesterday that he has requested 18,000 Covid-19 testing kits from the Department Health for the 3rd district of Negros Occidental, in preparation for the operationalization of the Metro 3rd Covid-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Benitez said the testing kits are expected to arrive anytime this week.
Benitez and Rep. Stephen Paduano (Abang Lingkod Partylist) led a three-hour face-to-face and zoom meeting Tuesday with retired Gen. Mel Feliciano of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Visayas, that was hosted by Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, and participated in by mayors Francis Frederick Palanca of Victorias, Marvin Malacon – EB Magalona, and Gerry Rojas of Murcia, and Talisay executive assistant Nicolai Jalandoni for Mayor Neil Lizares.
The Metro 3rd EOC, which is the first integrated district-wide Covid-19 Emergency Operations Center in Negros Occidental, is expected to be fully operational next week.
During the meeting, Feliciano stressed major critical factors to make the EOC effective and efficient, which include strong coordination within the command center that must have a centralized structure, accuracy and timeliness of data collection, meaningful data analysis, which is the key to intervention, and a workable referral system flow, among others.
Benitez and Paduano also stressed the importance of standardized guidelines on data gathering, processing and analysis among the local government units that comprise the 3rd district, or the cities of Victorias, Silay and Talisay and the municipalities of E.B. Magalona and Murcia.
The five mayors of the 3rd district, assisted by their respective local task force officials, reported on the status of initiatives and measures implemented, to include critical statistics on the pandemic in their respective communities.
Best practices and experiences of various LGUs in the implementation of swabbing, contact tracing and data gathering were also evaluated by Feliciano, who identified areas for improvement and points for emulation.
The activation of the Metro 3rd EOC, assisted by the IATF–Visayas, DOH, and the provincial government of Negros Occidental, is expected to strengthen coordination and cooperation efforts for better management of resources from both the public and private sectors in the implementation of quick emergency response system, medical referrals through telemedicine and existing structures in the communities, and effective monitoring of testing, tracing, isolation and treatment procedures.*