City Government of Valencia, Bukidnon
Best Practice Focus Area/s
23 March 2020
This is a GBPR for COVID-19 Response entry
Valencia City is the third most populous city in Northern Mindanao, and it is connected to many regions via major road networks and highways. This makes the city a great risk of being a transmitter of COVID-19. So at the onset of the pandemic, the city government issued Executive Order (EO) No. 26, establishing the Emergency Operations and Command Center (EOCC) at the Valencia City Central School. Notably, it also served as the Centralized Health Quarantine Facility (CHQF) as its spacious buildings and rooms could accommodate 250 patients while still having rooms dedicated to the functional units of the Command Center.
Background and Problem
Valencia City, situated in the heartland of Mindanao, is the third most populous city in Northern Mindanao. Being centrally located on the entire island, it posed a great risk for the spread of COVID-19 as many major road networks and highways connect Valencia City to the many other regions of Mindanao. It was imperative therefore, that the Local Government of Valencia City implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, thereby protecting the inhabitants of the city and Mindanao as a whole.
Solution and Impact
In the absence of a vaccine, public health strategies were directed to mitigate and suppress the transmission of COVID-19. Thus, on 22 March 2020, the city government issued EO No. 26, establishing the EOCC for the Valencia City Task Force Against COVID-19 at the Valencia City Central School. Notably, it also served as an isolation area for Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) while the city was under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
The spacious mini-ballpark fronting the main building was an ideal site for a parking ground and staging area for all the rescue vehicles, ambulances, and decontamination unit trucks, allowing for faster response time in emergency situations. The facility’s ample space could also accommodate frontliners’ and clients’ vehicles.
The Principal’s Office was utilized as the Office of the Incident Commander. The front building housed all the functional units of the Command Center. Room 16 was used as a briefing and receiving area. Room 17 was the Incident Command Office and the Tourism Satellite office. Room 18 was for the Philippine National Police Advance Unit Office. Room 19 was occupied by the City Health Office for its Disease Surveillance and Monitoring Unit. Room 20 was for the City Disaster Risk Reduction Office’s Emergency Response Unit. Rooms 21 and 22 were for the General Services Office Operation unit, supplies, and Audio-Visual Room. Room 23 was for the Disinfection and Decontamination Unit.
The whole school has about seventy (70) classrooms that could be utilized as quarantine rooms, and it could accommodate a total of two-hundred fifty (250) PUMs, with each room having a maximum capacity of five persons. As a quarantine facility, it had a total capacity of not fewer than two-hundred fifty (250).
To date, the EOCC has delivered the following:
- Released more than 5,000 copies of Medical Certificates;
- Administered more than 100 daily Rapid Tests;
- Carried out immense Contract Tracing among the COVID-19 patients to contain local transmission cases;
- Established a Triage Center;
- Assisted the province regarding LSIs and Returning Overseas Filipinos;
- Conducted daily monitoring of and appropriate tests on COVID-19 patients and PUIs/PUMs;
- Conducted daily meetings and endorsements among officials; and
- Facilitated recovery of COVID-19 patients and PUIs/PUMs.
Notably, a Manual of Operations for the CHQF was also developed. In the Manual, all work processes and procedures needed to establish, run, and maintain a CHQF have been written down in detail. The manual also takes into consideration compliance with issuances and directions of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the DOH, enabling the Valencia City Government to have a more systematized and synchronized response in the future.
When the province of Bukidnon was placed under the Modified General Community Quarantine MGCQ starting 01 June 2020, new guidelines through EO No. 45 on 30 May 2020 were also released, which defined the implementation of a new set of strategies and procedures under the MGCQ situation in the city of Valencia, Bukidnon. Likewise, the Manual of Operations was also updated to include how operations and procedures of the CHQF would be implemented under MGCQ. In particular, the issuance of EO No. 45 has modified the sentinel approach in containing the spread of COVID-19.
Moreover, Several neighboring LGUs as well as the overarching provincial government, have used the CHQF as well as the Manual of Operations as a baseline for their establishment and maintenance of future quarantine facilities.