President Rodrigo R. Duterte appointed Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu as Visayas Deputy Implementer of the National Task Force for Covid-19.
With his new designation, Cimatu will be tasked to recommend to his NTF counterparts in Metro Manila policies and measures needed to contain Covid-19 incidents in Cebu City, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country at 4,449, as well as other parts of the Visayas.
Duterte said Cimatu’s appointment was necessary to ensure anti-Covid measures in Cebu City will be on track.
The soaring incidents of Covid-19 prompted the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to place the city under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from June 16 to June 30.
Currently, there are now 30,682 Covid-19 cases in Cebu City.
Of which, 8.143 were able to recover from the disease, while 1,177 died from it.
Cause for concern
Duterte expressed concern that the high Covid-19 incidents could cause local government officials in Cebu City to start blaming one another thus “derailing” government programs.”
He said he is confident this will be prevented with Cimatu’s new appointment so he could provide the national government with the “entire picture” of the Covid problem in Cebu City.
“That is why I told General Cimatu to just exercise the powers of the Task Force anyway you are an adjunct office there. I will just write an executive order [for this]…so he might fly [to Cebu City] anytime,” Duterte said during a late evening public address on Monday.
Duterte called on the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), NTF, and the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) to extend their support to Cimatu.
In its resolution no. 47, series of 2020, the IATF tasked the NTF to conduct a “ground level response” in Cebu City for one week starting on Monday.
The newly appointed Visayas NTF Deputy Implementer to oversee the said emergency operation in Cebu City.
Prior to his new appointment, Cimatu was appointed by Duterte to handle several crucial tasks including the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFW), the rehabilitation of Boracay Island, and most recently clean up of the Manila Bay.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza