Governor Amado I. Espino III urged all sectors, local leaders that include the barangay officials and the people of Pangasinan to unite as one team and find solutions to control the increase of COVID-19 positive cases in the province.
“Napakahirap po ng trabaho natin kaya nandito tayo para mag-isip kung ano ang maitutulong natin para bagalan at hindi mapabilis ang pagtaas ng bilang ng kaso,” Gov. Espino stated during the Stakeholders Consultative Meeting held on July 22 at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center II in Lingayen.
In his message, the governor stressed that the pandemic can never be eradicated but at least controlled through the efforts of the government, line agencies, and the people.
“Hindi ko pinapahina ang loob ninyo pero mas lalo pang tataas ang bilang ng kaso kung hindi tayo magkakaisa at magtutulungan upang ma-monitor at magabayan ang ating mga kababayan,” Gov. Espino stressed.
Expressing deep concern on the growing cases, the governor vowed to do his best as the highest official of the province through the support of other leaders and the people to lessen the burden during these trying times.
“Kung kaya natin doblehin o triplehin ang trabaho natin dito ay gagawin po natin,” he said even as he thanked the participants of the consultative meeting for attending the event. “Ang pagpunta n’yo dito ay dagdag inspirasyon para sa ating lahat,” Gov. Espino further noted.
As disclosed by Provincial Health Officer Anna Maria Teresa De Guzman, the provincial government has initiated several measures to address the pandemic such as the conduct of the Expanded Targeting Testing (mass testing) and the establishment of the Molecular Laboratory which is expected to open on October with the permission of the Department of Health (DOH).
Dr. De Guzman explained that the basis of the mass testing which the provincial government launched as a pro-active response to the pandemic was the DOH Memo 2020-0258 that sets the national government’s challenge for LGUs to test for virus at least 1.5 % to 2 % of its total population.
Hence, the PHO chief stated that the estimated population pf Pangasinan is three (3) million which translates to about 45,000 to 60,000 individuals to be tested for COVID-19.
It can be remembered that the provincial government have procured some 8,000 pieces of Viral Transport Medium for the COVID-19 mass testing project. The first round of mass testing was conducted last May 5 until June 11 while the second round was held from June 18 and still on-going as of July 21.
Based on the PHO report, some 2,403 individuals were tested on its first round of mass testing. Each round consists of three batches. Targets must be the following: 1) suspected cases; 2) individuals with relevant history of travel and exposure (or contact), whether symptomatic or asymptomatic; 3) health care workers with possible exposure whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
The first round (first wave) of targeted mass testing has yielded .58% or less than one percent positivity rate out of 2,403 tested individuals that time.
As of 9AM today (July 23), there are a total of 168 confirmed cases (Pangasinan-135 and Dagupan City-33). Of this number, 106 have recovered while 52 are still confined. Ten (10) deaths were recorded. There are 10 towns with zero case of COVID-19. These are: Bolinao, Anda, Dasol, Aguilar, Alcala, Mangaldan, Mapandan, Villasis, Balungao, and Tayug.
On the other hand, the Department of Health (DOH) COVID-19 case tracker dated July 19 stated that among the largest provinces in the country, Pangasinan posted the least number of positive cases. The report stated the following huge provinces with the number of cases: 1) Cebu- 10,972; 2) Laguna- 1,615; 3) Rizal- 1,367; 4) Cavite- 1,225; 5) Bulacan- 856; 6) Batangas- 543; 7) Iloilo- 365; 8) Negros Occidental- 359; 9) Pampanga- 237; 10) Pangasinan- 145.
Meanwhile, LIGA ng mga Barangay Provincial Federation President Jose Peralta expressed his gratitude to the Espino administration for extending full support to all barangays in the province.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa suporta na binibigay ng provincial government. Maliit ang pondo ng barangay at kung wala ang suportang binibigay ng provincial government ay hindi po kakayanin ng barangay na tugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga tao,” Board Member Peralta said.
Aside from BM Peralta, the Gov. Espino was joined by Pangasinan Phil. National Police Provincial Director Redrico Maranan, Provincial Administrator Nimrod S. Camba, Provincial Legal Officer Geraldine U. Baniqued, and Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer Luchinvar Oro during the consultative meeting.
The event was participated in by all Liga ng mga Barangay Presidents from all over Pangasinan, members of the Association of Municipal/City Health Officers, members of the Inter-Local Health Zones, Philippine Medical Society representatives, Bureau of Fire Protection personnel, and members of the Phil. Academy of Family Physicians.
Topics discussed during the event were: Status of Isolation and Quarantine Facilities in Pangasinan by Dr. Susan Rita Pamintuan-Meriño, Proper Disposal of Human Remains Due to COVID-19 by Dr. Cielo Almoite, and Provincial Status Report by Dr. Anna Maria Teresa De Guzman. (Ruby R. Bernardino / Photos by Carlo Dela Cruz)