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A Town’s Mom

By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN

In the Philippines, the National Capital Region has the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases. This is a tough challenge for every town’s mayor to protect the welfare of their constituents.

In Mandaluyong, to combat the pandemic, Mayor Menchie Abalos has infused the LGU’s initiatives with her motherly love to let her people know that their government truly cares for them, and that they are not alone in this crisis. In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, she shares how the city is fighting this pandemic and how they are protecting their frontliners.

Optimal care for frontliners

According to Mayor Menchie, even before the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the local government had had meetings to discuss how they would handle the crisis. Those critical meetings resulted in comprehensive action plans.

Keeping in mind that medical workers are front and center in this war, the Mandaluyong LGU is making sure they are provided with adequate medical gears. “Since the frontliners, particularly those in the medical field, play the most important role in ensuring the wellbeing of persons afflicted with the disease, we ensure that they are provided with optimal care, such as PPEs and all the necessary equipment,” she says. “Transport service to and from hospital utilizing private service vehicles is provided for medical staff, whether working within or outside of the city.”

The town also offers free accommodation for the frontliners. To make sure they won’t be victims of stigma because of this deadly virus, Mandaluyong also passed an ordinance that would protect them against any form of harassment. “Free accommodation is also provided for the medical frontliners at a local hotel where 107 hospital personnel benefitted. Cash incentives including health center workers, hospital personnel, emergency response, funeral services personnel, were also given,” says Mayor Menchie. “Ordinance No. 766 was also passed prohibiting the harassment, violence, and/or any form of discrimination against health workers, frontliners, or persons reporting for duty during this time of national health emergency, and discrimination against persons who are confirmed positive or have recovered from Covid-19, as well of the PUMs and PUIs.”

As preparation to the possible spike in the number of Covid-91 cases, the city built a temporary hospital and quarantine facilities. “We have constructed a makeshift hospital within the city hall ground, a modular tent with a 21-bed capacity that caters to Covid-19 cases and a separate tent for four medical staff,” she explains. “A facility in the city was also transformed into a quarantine area to cater 150 suspects. Two modular medical facilities were also constructed to accommodate eight suspects and eight positive cases. Meanwhile, the Rotary Club of Makati has also sponsored the construction of a quarantine facility in the city hall grounds that has a 15-bed capacity, also for Covid-19 related cases.”

Beyond the food packs

With a population of 450,414 people, the majority of their livelihoods are also hit by the pandemic. In response to this, the LGU is continuously handing out food and vegetable relief packs to their citizens.

“Mandaluyong is also one of the first LGUs to include vegetables in our relief distribution to ensure that our residents still get to have nutritious meals, putting a premium on strengthening their health for a better chance at combating Covid-19. Fresh produce has been sourced from sister LGUs,” the 57-year-old mayor says. “As of May 6, we’ve distributed 123,220 food packs for our ongoing third wave of distribution. A total of 299,351 food packs were distributed since the start of the ECQ.”

Mandaluyong relief operation

Aside from relief packs, Mandaluyong also passed a resolution mandating companies to provide cash assistance to their employees until the ECQ is lifted. On the part of government offices, Mayor Menchie has ordered the release of their 14th month bonus for city hall employees, and to provide calamity assistance to contractual workers.

We might be fighting Covid-19 but it doesn’t mean it is the only illness existing today. To address the needs of people traveling to medical facilities for other health concerns, the city is offering hospital transportation for free. “We called it the ‘MediDyip’ program,” Mayor Menchie says. “Individuals such as dialysis patients, pregnant women, persons with disability (PWDs), senior citizens, and children who need medical attention can avail of the free hospital transport on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Meanwhile, medical supplies of PWD sectors are delivered to their respected houses. “Through the Persons with Disability Affairs Division, the needed vitamins and medicines of persons with disability, like anti-seizure and anti-psychotic drugs, are delivered right at their doorsteps,” she explains. “Grocery packs, food supplements for those feeding through nasogastric tube and diapers are also provided.”

With her team continuously working round the clock, Mayor Menchie wants to reassure her people, “To my beloved fellowmen in Mandaluyong, I call upon you to remain brave and strong and to be more resilient in the face of this pandemic,” she says.

“Be assured that you have a working government that will remain by your side even through the toughest of times and harshest conditions.

Bilang ina ng Lungsod ng Mandaluyong, kasama n’yo ako sa laban ng ito. Sa inyong kooperasyon at pakikiisa, sama-sama tayong babangon at magtatagumpay (As the mother of the city of Mandaluyong, I am with you in this fight. With cooperation and unity, we can rise together and succeed).”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/05/10/a-towns-mom/)

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