Governor Hilario P. Davide III on Thursday clarified that there was no judgment yet on the recommendation to place the entire province under the state of calamity due to rising cases of dengue in some towns and cities.
Davide told reporters he would meet first with Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., about the basis of latter’s recommendation.
On Wednesday, Tribunalo offered suggestion to Capitol’s ‘Kontra Lamok’ task force to declare a state of calamity that would enable the Capitol to use its quick response fund (QRF) to combat the increasing number of dengue cases. Tribunalo added that the declaration can help finance the anti-dengue measures of the Provincial Health Office (PHO).
“I will talk to Baltz (Tribunalo) and ask him what his basis is,” said Davide.
During the meeting of the task force, the disaster chief also made the same recommendation citing the large number of dengue cases and the urgency to contain the deadly disease.
“There is already an outbreak. If we don’t declare a state of calamity, it’s like acknowledging that there is a storm and then stops there,” Tribunalo told the task force.
From January to October, PHO has tallied 5, 700 dengue cases and 55 deaths all over the province.
Call for cooperation
Meanwhile, Davide urged the Department of Health (DOH) 7 to help the province in its fight against dengue instead of criticizing health officials of the province for pushing the declaration of the outbreak.
“Diba devolved naman ang powers and functions sa DOH, dapat unta motabang sila instead of conflicting us,” Davide said adding that PHO studied the data on dengue before coming up with its findings.
“Ang ato unta respeto lang sa devolution. Mas maayong tawgon nila ang PHO, mag meeting sila haron masabotan kung asa sila motabang,” Davide said. “I don’t think magpataka ang PHO na way basihan.”
In a related development, PHO head on public health Dr. Niño Ismael Pastor denied a newspaper report in which he was quoted as saying that the province has already spent P200 million for larvicides alone.
According to Pastor, what he actually said was that the PHO would use the remaining P200,000 allocation for dengue measures to the purchase of larvicide.
Pastor stressed that during media interviews on the outbreak, “PHO kept reminding the public that the best way to combat mosquito-borne diseases like dengue is through cleanliness.”
“(PHO Chief) Dr. Rene Catan and I have emphasized during interviews that massive clean-up is more effective than misting and larvicides since it would deny mosquitoes of their breeding sites,” said Pastor.
When the Executive Order was issued creating Task Force ‘Kontra Lamok’, the directive of the governor also underlined the concerted clean-up drive to prevent the spread of dengue virus, he added.
Executive Order No 17, (Task Force Kontra Lamok) signed last September 17 by Gov. Davide, mandates immediate and appropriate action to prevent the risk of the increasing mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. It also encouraged the people to join massive clean-up efforts to destroy breeding sites of mosquitoes.
Last Monday, the Provincial Board passed a resolution declaring a province-wide dengue outbreak. (Kelvin Cañizares)