Is the 30-day MECQ extension in Lanao Sur a punishment?

By Abdul Hannan Magarang Tago

Last April 18 this year, there was no new case of Covid-19 in Lanao Del Sur and Marawi City prompting Malacañang to place the province and its capital city under general community quarantine (GCQ). 

The good news lasted for several weeks and despite of such relief the authorities here insisted to request the extension of the (Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). The May Executive Order (EO) was an obvious objection to the Manila order. 

They later withdrew it following the strong opposition of some constituents while such local EO did not only brace the NG-Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) but also could not justify its reasonings. 

From May 1, the localities enjoyed the general community quarantine (GCQ) for the first time that opened up businesses and movements while people were already used to wear facemasks. 

Unfortunately, the situation in the capital remained in deteriorating status with the arrival of Overseas Filipino Workers who were also either forced to leave their work abroad or voluntarily opted to come home. 

Among the government strategists to combat the pandemic was to ease the congestion in the capital by offering Filipinos to return to their respective provinces. Malacañang also made some changes in the IATF setup.

The so called stranded Filipinos including OFWs started their influx into their provinces while PhilHealth controversy were emerging for alleged financial gain. For them every positive case is a source of justified extra income. 

This was exposed by no less than the governor of Cebu Gwendolyn Garcia in an interview stating that even a motorcycle casualty’s cause of death was tampered as Covid-19 patient by a certain hospital in connection with PhilHealth mafia. According to her they provide swab test tempered result. 

Rapid test was also the ideal and widely used to show symptoms by the unscrupulous group so far to justify the legality of their operations at the expense of the localities. I do remember a mother whose two children were tested positive at Sagongsongan by the same tester while they were negative by swab test in Manila. 

This ignited netizens to lose their confidence and trust to the agency and some medical team. They expressed their outrage on Facebook in almost every announcement by the local IATF here.

A medical doctor openly requested both in written and video appeal to President Rodrigo R. Duterte to stop use of rapid test for false and inaccurate result. 

Rapid test results increasing the number of cases here have prompted the LGU to request again to place LDS under MECQ from September 7 to 30. It was approved by Carlito Galvez, the Chief Implementer of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19, during their meeting in Iligan recently. 

The move did not decrease the number as expected. Yesterday, the president himself placed LDS and Marawi City in 30 day MECQ instead of 14 days as originally requested, a Facebook post by a close to the authority here disclosed. 

We apparently suffered from three consequences, the constant request of the LGUs here for extensions, the allegedly financial gain by certain individuals in the medical team with connection with PhilHealth and the false outcomes of the rapid test. 

I hope by the strong cries and outrage of the people of the Lake while they still suffer the trauma caused by the Marawi Siege and the prolong extensions, both National Government and the LGUs authorities here shorten the MECQ to only 14 days. (AHMT)

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