ILOILO CITY –– The Iloilo City government on Wednesday night pulled out residents being isolated and monitored for COVID-19 infection from a public elementary school due to requirements being asked by the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Interior and Local Government.
City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the persons under monitoring (PUMs) and patients under investigation (PUIs) were transferred to the Iloilo Central School to the city government-run Iloilo Diamond Jubilee Hall.
“So sad, but it happens, and we have to comply with these. Life is not a bed of roses,” Treñas said in a statement.
Lea Belleza, spokesperson of DepEd in Western Visayas, said their agency had always been willing to allow the use of their facilities.
“We have expressed full cooperation with the local government units to help in addressing the pandemic. We have streamlined the requirements for the use of schools, but we need to comply with rules because we are responsible for these facilities,” Belleza told the INQUIRER.
Two PUMs and six PUIs were staying at the Iloilo Central School classrooms while undergoing the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
But early Wednesday evening, they were moved to the Iloilo Diamond Jubilee Hall ran by the city government.
Each person occupies one tent with a folding bed put up by the city disaster risk reduction and management office inside the hall.
Treñas earlier expressed frustration over the DepEd requirement for the execution of a memorandum of agreement for the city government to continue using schools as isolation centers.
The mayor said the requirements were making the work of local government units (LGUs) more difficult during a health emergency and when the city was under enhanced community quarantine.
“Why do they need to require us a (memorandum of agreement) in this situation? Ano ni sila man (What kind of people are these)? Don’t they know what is happening in the city?” Treñas asked on Wednesday.
The city has been on enhanced community quarantine since March 20.
He said national government agencies should not insist on requirements and other bureaucratic processes as LGUs and private donors were already coming with support to help address the pandemic.
Treñas said the city government was also considering the offer of PHINMA University of Iloilo to provide rooms for the PUMs and PUIs.
Belleza of DepEd said they initially allowed the city government to use the Iloilo Central School without an agreement but later asked for a memorandum of agreement that would provide, among others, conditions on maintenance, repair, or replacement of any damaged or lost school facilities.
In a memorandum issued on March 30, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones delegated authority to regional directors to evaluate, approve or deny requests of LGUs for the use of school facilities during the COVID-19 quarantine period.
“The LGU must show that all other facilities have been duly assessed and were found to be inadequate. Schools can be recommended for use only when no other facilities are available,” according to the memorandum.
Edited by LZB
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