Mayor Sara Duterte cancels Araw ng Dabaw events amid novel coronavirus scare

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020   •   627

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday announced that major events lined up for the celebration of 83rd ‘Araw ng Dabaw’ will be canceled amid the threat of novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV-ARD).

In a social media post, Duterte said the move follows the February 7 advisory of the Department of Health against public gatherings.

“Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to cancel the following events of the 83rd Araw ng Dabaw celebration: Pasiugdang Pagsaulog, Reyna Dabawenya, Ginoong Davao, Sayaw Pinoy, Kalingawan sa Sta. Ana, Hudyaka, Mutya ng Dabaw, Pasidungog, Araw ng Empleyado, Kanta Bidabawenyo, Parada Dabawenyo, and the Datu Bago Awards,” she said.

Araw ng Dabaw is an annual city-wide celebration held in March. It usually draws a large crowd of locals and foreign tourists.

The mayor said that all preparations made for this year’s celebration will be executed in 2021.

She also said that beginning on Tuesday, February 11, all welcome and send-off groups at airports, seaports, bus terminals, and other transportation hubs are permanently banned “not only because of the virus but for reasons of safety and security.”

She added that only employees, workers, drivers, and passengers are allowed in these places.

“The novel coronavirus situation remains very fluid and there is still no answer when it will be stabilized or its spread across the globe be fully controlled,” Duterte said.

“We have seen an increasing number of people getting the infection worldwide. Our health care facilities in Davao City have limitations and we cannot possibly carry hundreds of sick individuals all at the same time,” she added.

As of Monday, February 10, Chinese public health authorities reported that the number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus has climbed to more than 900 in mainland China with 40,171 confirmed infections.

Duterte also directed the Department of Trade and Industry “to ensure that the price freeze memorandum of the DOH, the price tag, suggested retail price and other pertinent regulations on all goods and commodities are strictly implemented.”

“Business permits of stores caught selling overpriced items and hoarding food and other supplies shall be canceled and their establishment padlocked,” she said.

She called on the public to seek immediate medical assistance and refrain from going in and out of Davao City if they have sore throat, cough, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.

“Schools, offices and business establishments are advised to come up with guidelines to ensure that students and employees who are sick are not allowed entry to the school or workplace,” she said.

“While we have a health issue at hand, please DO NOT PANIC. Instead, report to the authorities and seek immediate and appropriate medical help,” she added.

Davao City gov’t intercepts LSIs allegedly trying to skirt protocols vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

Locally-stranded individuals (LSI) allegedly attempting to enter Davao City using a different airport or via land travels to avoid cumbersome protocols against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been intercepted by the Task Force Davao (TFD), the city government said.

In a statement, the city government said that as of July 28, Tuesday, the TFD reported having intercepted a total of 175 LSIs at the city’s three major entry points – Lasang, Sirawan, and Lacson.

TFD commander Colonel Consolito Yecla said that of this figure, at least 87 were residents of Davao City while the remaining 88 were just passing by for their destination provinces.

“Those who are residents of the city were escorted to the testing center for their swab tests while the non-residents were escorted toward the boundaries,” he said.

“We escorted them to the boundaries to ensure that they will not make a stop in the city, we treat everyone as a carrier so it will be vital if they make a stop,” he added.

On Wednesday the TFD also intercepted a person who failed the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) in Trento, Agusan del Sur.

The patient was immediately brought to the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC).

Some LSIs are allegedly trying to skirt an earlier order of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, requiring those entering the city to provide negative results of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) taken at least 72 hours before boarding their flights.

The order was later modified and testing is now being done as plane passengers leave the Davao International Airport.

Contract tracing was among the main issues in the past when LSIs tested positive for the disease.

With the exit testing, contact tracing will now be easier, the city government said.

Sara Duterte to skip father’s 5th SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said she will not be attending the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte which is set to be held on Monday, July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday, Duterte-Carpio said she is skipping this year’s SONA because she wants to avoid the cumbersome health requirements like going through swab testing and 14-day mandatory requirement as imposed on Davao-bound passengers to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Hindi pa ako dumadaan sa RT-PCR testing and of course, pag ganyan babalik na naman ako sa pagho-home quarantine ng 14 days. It’s not something na I want to do again kay dumaan na ako sa ganyan,” she said referring to the time she underwent home quarantine last March after her meeting in Manila with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who came in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Mayor Sara also said she would rather stay in Davao City than travel to Manila to witness her father address the nation.

She also advised the public to watch the president’s SONA to hear about his administration’s accomplishments and other plans before his term ends in 2022. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

Davao City offers free RT-PCR test for passengers arriving at Davao airport

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2020

Air passengers bound for Davao City now have two options to comply with the requirement to present their 72-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result prior to boarding their flight, the city government said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the local government said that passengers may now opt to take the RT-PCR test at the airport or their place of origin at their own cost.

They may also choose to take a free RT-PCR test at the Davao International Airport and prepare to wait inside a holding facility for the results for 24 hours to 48 hours.

The new options were presented after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s meeting with the members of the National Task Force for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday night.

Last week, Duterte announced that all Davao-bound air passengers will be required to show negative RT PCR test results taken 24 hours to 72 hours before their date of departure.

The free testing service is offered to utilize the P6 Million Bayanihan Grant allocated for RT-PCR testing for a private Covid-19 facility at the Davao airport. 

“As approved during the meeting, the requirement of a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from departure date shall not be mandatory upon check-in at the airport of origin but shall be required upon exit at the Davao International Airport (DIA),” the mayor said.

All those who were tested at their places of origin within 24 to 72 hours of departure date but have not received their result shall not be allowed to exit the Davao airport until their test result is available, the city government said.

“We ensure that travellers who enter the city are negative, they just proceed with home quarantine. Dili na sad ta mag gukod sa contact tracing (so we would not go after people for contact tracing) since they do not have close contact,” Duterte said. 

In a letter dated July 21 addressed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Mayor Sara also laid a modified set of guidelines for passengers entering Davao Airport. 

Mayor Sara also sought the help of DOTr to request airlines to deplane all those with a negative RT-PCR test result first, followed by all those without their RT-PCR test result to ensure a safe and orderly exit out of the airport.

The city government will also accept a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from the domestic departure date conducted by a laboratory overseas for an international flight passenger, provided that all results written in a foreign language must have an English translation.

Children 12 years old and below are exempted from the RT-PCR requirement, provided that the accompanying adult passenger has a negative RT-PCR result.

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