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IATF locks down Iligan under MECQ

ILIGAN CITY (5 September 2020) — This is Day 4 of the lockdown here after the whole city was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) following a spike of positive cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Although many parts of the city seem to appear normal and business as usual, a significant change in day-to-day activities is apparent. No public transport is available and several small business establishments are temporarily closed.

People’s movements are restricted and quarantine passes are required to buy food and medicine.

The city government issued the latest guidelines on the IATF directive on Wednesday.

The city is under fire after reports and complaints came out on the alleged mismanagement of the crisis. The spike of cases of the disease was allegedly caused by the lack of strategic response of the local government in handling local transmission and the return of locally stranded individuals and overseas Filipino earlier on.

In a visit on Friday, IATF Head Secretary Carlito Galvez ordered city mayor Celso Regencia to step up in its efforts by establishing more isolation units. The IATF Chief added that COVID-19 patients should not be allowed to be quarantined at home.

Meanwhile, public outcry has began through social media describing disgust over the city’s handling of the public health crisis. While Regencia is seen to be not fully engaged in the local IATF, Vice Mayor Jemar Vera Cruz, an ex-priest, and another city councilor have tested positive of COVID-19 and are now being isolated.

As of early this week, scores of frontliners including health workers and policemen have tested positive as well causing a shut down of at least two police stations in the city.

To date, there are more than 370 cases of COVID-19 in the city with 11 deaths and granular lockdowns are in place in specific locations.

Supporters of local politicians are not downplaying any of the issues and have resorted to finger-pointing, blaming each other’s camps.

Iligan’s lone district representative, Frederick Siao had called on for a unified response Friday evening to urgently address the issue.

While the MECQ, which is set for the entire month of September, is heavily affecting populations, people continue to wonder what is in store for Iliganons in the days to come.

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