With the expected surge in the number of people who would need to be isolated due to COVID-19 threat, the Region 10 DILG, DepEd and DOH now target preparation of public schools as quarantine and isolation areas.

In a video conference held earlier this day, April 27, said agencies convened to harmonize efforts, setting parameters of rules, regulations and directives when it comes to using identified schools for COVID-19-related activities.

“What we need to do now is to already have a common understanding as to how we will be able to utilize our schools as isolation units with the national health crisis that we are still facing right now,” said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe.

He added that involved agencies must work in unison considering that there might be an influx of stranded residents from Northern Mindanao, and for those who will be going back to the Region, especially those coming from Luzon.

As per Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2020-0123, operations of the temporary treatment and monitoring facilities shall be under the supervision of the City/Municipal Health Officer who shall assign a facility manager when necessary, and shall serve as an extension of their Urban Health Centers/Rural Health Units.

These isolation units are eyed to have complete provision of basic needs for patients, such as food, water, sanitation, and communication—however, no visitors shall be allowed in the area.

RD Agabe said that for now, DILG will be coming up with a directive for LGUs to initially assess schools that will meet the minimum requirements to be used as Ligtas COVID-19 Facility Centers to fast track said process.

Also, DILG Provincial and City Directors are expected to promptly act on requests from local government units for the use of DepEd schools as places for isolation units. They shall also ensure that the purpose for the usage of the school is within the parameters issued by the National Government.

Further, the DILG is expected to continuously assist the LGUs in complying with the requirements of the DepEd for the approval of their requests.   (DILG 10/LGOO II Rezza Mae B. Tolinero)