(Eagle News) — The Quezon City government on Friday, March 13, declared a state of calamity to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus cases in the city and to empower barangays to implement measures to control infections.
Quezon City mayor Joy Belmonte announced this a day after President Rodrigo Duterte imposed a community quarantine in the whole of Metro Manila to address rising COVID-19 cases in the country.
“This allows the city to utilize a portion of its quick response funds (QRF) for the procurement and distribution of goods and services to fight #COVID19,” she said.
Belmonte said that the city government already has a resolution from the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to back the declaration of the state of calamity.
“This is the first time in many. many years, for as long as I can remember, that we declared a state of calamity,” the mayor said.
He said that the primary basis is the declaration of the President of a public health emergency in the country, and the resolution declaring a community quarantine in the whole of Metro Manila.
Belmonte noted that Quezon City is the largest city of Metro Manila. Its area, in fact, covers 25 percent of the National Capital Region, she said.
She said that she has the support of the 142 barangays in Quezon City in her declaration of a state of calamity.
With the declaration, she said that there would be more intensified and extensive monitoring of persons under investigation (PUIs) as well as the persons under monitoring in the city.
Barangays will also be enabled to do extensive and strenghtened contact tracing.
She said mass gatherings will be prohibited as well.
“Ang mga mass gathering bawal na po yun,” Belmonte said.
The mayor said that the city government had already issued a memorandum on Tuesday morning, March 10, immediately after a meeting called by President Duterte on Monday, March 9, with all Metro Manila mayors to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The city government issued a memorandum which was circulated around the city. So kami po ang pinakaunang nag-issue ng memorandum kung saan may guidelines ukol sa mass gathering, suspension ng pasok, policies and guidelines with regards to our jails,” she said.
The guidelines regarding mass gatherings, including medical missions, are also laid out in the memorandum, as well as those pertaining to school ceremonies and graduations, she said.
Belmonte said that she would also be issuing an executive order on Friday night, March 13, to add more teeth to her earlier issued memorandum to prevent hoarding and panic buying.
“Kumpleto na po yung executive order na yan, including and I would like to stress, prohibitions. I will be prohibiting mass gatherings, events, yung mga iba’t iba pang uri ng pagtitipon na kung saan nagsasama ang maraming mga tao,” she explained in a press briefing late Friday afternoon, March 13.
“So prohibited na po ito, hindi lang po discouraged as was the content of my previous memorandum,” she noted.
She said that the city council members were unanimous in supporting her in this.
The mayor said that she would be issuing this E.O. by tonight.
Belmonte earlier said that Quezon City has at least five confirmed COVID-19 cases.