Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte said in her pre-recorded State of the City Address (Soca) 2020 streamed on the Facebook pages of the City Government of Davao and the Davao City Disaster Radio Facebook Monday afternoon, November 16, cited the resilience of Dabawenyos amid the fight against the coronavirus diseases (Covid-19) pandemic that she sees will still be around in the near future.

“And we, Dabawenyos, we will not break. The deaths, the pain, the debts, and the frustration are sent our way to change us into Dabawenyos, who look at dark clouds and see it as the silver lining,” she said, admitting that she will “forever be caught in between a rock and a hard place” in the wake of the pandemic.

She said the rock represents all frontliners trying to save the lives of those who are dying from Covid-19 complications while the hard place characterizes those who are struggling to save their families from poverty.

The mayor said facing a pandemic during her term was never in her wildest dreams although she mentally prepared herself for emergencies and disasters. The pandemic, she said “floored” her to some extent despite having weathered countless storms.

“Ten months since the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic, Davao City remains trapped in a very peculiar reality just like the rest of the world. And we should all manage our expectations because this pandemic will define how we will live our lives for another two years. Maybe more,” Duterte said.

The past 10 months saw an alarming surge in the confirmed Covid-19 positive cases in the city. As of 5 p.m. of November 15, Davao City recorded 1,774 active cases from the total 5,185 confirmed Covid-19 positive cases, 3,193 recoveries, and 218 deaths.

The chief executive said there is a need to think of more ways to reduce the risk of local transmission as there is still no available vaccine. She reiterated basic health safety protocols such as staying at home, wearing masks, frequent washing of hands and observing social or physical distancing.

Duterte said Covid-19 is not just a public health emergency but an economic and social crisis as well.

COVID-19 RESPONSE

The mayor bared that the city government of Davao “is trying out the best strategic, seamless connection between the stages under our Plan of Action against Covid19 — Prevention, Testing, Contact Tracing, and Isolation, Quarantine, and Treatment.”

She said the city has approximately 1,200 daily testing capacity. The city government also supported the establishment of two private laboratories as it hastens the completion of the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act-funded Los Amigos Davao Laboratory.

However, contact tracing remains to be challenging although the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently augmented 1,500 personnel to boost the city’s contact-tracing efforts. The implementation of the Safe Davao QR (DQR) effective November 23 is aimed at supporting the contact tracing team.

To date, she said the city has 15 Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) with a capacity of 1,171 bed spaces for various types of individuals – from confirmed positive, suspects, contacts, and post-swab individuals. A total of 601 bed spaces in four facilities are in place for arriving Davao International Airport passengers through the “Test and Wait” initiative.

Free swab tests are being undertaken at the DIA for arriving passengers who have no reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) negative test result to show as a mandatory requirement for exit.

From the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) that originally served as the only Covid-19 hospital, three more private hospitals have recently opened Covid-19 wards to cater to the spike of positive cases.

The city’s Wireless Public Cemetery Crematorium is nearing its completion while training for operating personnel is ongoing to accommodate Covid-related deaths. Its funding is also sourced from the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.

Meanwhile, the city government of Davao initiated various social welfare programs to aid affected daily wage earners and people working in the informal sector who lost their jobs, income, and food security. The Food Relief Response remains to be the city’s top priority since March as it distributed a total of 1,305,454 grocery packs to 448,312 households in all 182 barangays of the city during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period; and a total of 70, 994 food packs to affected workers of establishments and sectors even during the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

“We encourage everyone who needs help and ayuda sa pagkaon to please reach out to our City Social Welfare and Development Office social workers for immediate assistance,” the mayor said.

The Davao Cash for Work initiative, for its part, assisted at least 20,180 Dabawenyos who lost their jobs amid the pandemic while the TUPAD program of the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) aided jeepney drivers whose incomes were reduced due to the distancing requirements in public transportation. Similar aid was also extended to displaced workers of businesses affected by the liquor ban.

Duterte added that the Eskwela Davao, an educational assistance grant for children of families who lost their source of income or have encountered reduced income due to the pandemic, benefited 22,000 students (4,500 Junior High School, 4,500 Senior High School, 10,000 elementary, 3,000 kindergarten) who are will receive cash subsidy ranging from P1,000 to P3,000 each. She also bared that two private donors donated 300 laptops and 100 tablets to support families with three or more learners under the Student Siblings Laptop Sharing Project while the city allocated P100 million to support the Blended Learning implementation of the Department of Education through the Special Education Fund, which aimed to support the modular mode of instruction that has the highest preference among Davao City learners. CIO