By Joseph Almer Pedrajas

At least 10 barangays in Navotas City will return under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, a letter from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Disease (RIATF) sent to Mayor Toby Tiangco showed.

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Tiangco said that he received Resolution No. 3, which was dated May 20, 2020, on Thursday, ordering the placement under ECQ of the following barangays: North Bay Boulevard South (NBBS) Dagat-dagatan, NBBS Kaunlaran, NBBS Proper, San Jose, NBB North, Sipac Almacen, Daanghari, Tangos North, Tangos South and San Roque.

“[We] will implement [the order in] 10 Barangays starting 5:01 a.m. [of] Saturday, May 23,” he told the Manila Bulletin on Friday.

The letter came as RIATF’s response after withholding Tiangco’s original request to place the entire Navotas City under ECQ as most of its barangays still fall under critical zone based on the Department of Health (DOH).

“[The RIATF-NCR] recommends that only 10 barangays in Navotas undergo ECQ, in relation to the number of COVID-19 cases in the barangays, and provision of basic needs of the affected residents, availability of police forces to ensure security, conduct of contact tracing, epidemiological testing and proper isolation and submission of reports by the local government unit to the RIATF-NCR,” part of the letter reads.

As of 6 p.m. of May 21, Navotas has already reported 138 confirmed cases with 24 deaths and 30 recoveries.

Tiangco expressed concern that the number of residents infected with COVID-19 will continue to increase following the relaxation of quarantine guidelines under modified ECQ by allowing people to do unnecessary business outside and due to the limited number of law enforcers to monitor the public.

“Kapag nagka second wave eh back to zero tayo. Ang kinakatakot ko talaga is yung second wave. Dahil sa totoo lang, walang capacity ang local government ng Navotas pag sumobra sobra ang kaso (We will get back to zero once there’s a second wave of infection and that’s what I fear of. Honestly, our local government has no capacity if our COVID-19 case exceeds),” he said.

“So ang sa akin lang is prevention. Prevention kasi kung iintayin natin yung cases na tumaas, tsaka tayo babalik, reactionary na tayo (For me, it’s about prevention. Prevention because if we have ton first wait for our case to rise again before returning to ECQ, we’re just taking reactionary measures),” he added.

Tiangco also stressed the importance of maintaining the city’s ECQ status while there is still a backlog of test results.#

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