THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Agri chief supports operations to defeat pandemic in Caloocan City

Author: DA Communications Group | 5 September 2020

Agriculture Secretary William Dar, as the cabinet member tasked to provide stronger support for Caloocan City having areas identified with high Covid-19 community transmission, led the Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) Team Visit in the city on September 5, 2020.

Together with National Task Force Covid-19 Chair and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Mayor Oscar Malapitan, and representatives of Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) member agencies, the CODE Team discussed the national and local governments’ situation, action plans, strategies, interventions, and best practices to win the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are happy to note that in the last two weeks, there is a downtrend of cases here in Caloocan City. This shows that the whole of nation approach works through our strategies such as prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, recovery, and eventually reintegration to society,” Secretary Dar said.

The city’s average daily case of 1,696 has gone down to only 61.

“The bottomline is it’s improving everyday so congratulations to Mayor Malapitan,” Secretary Dar said.

He added, “you will never lose the war if you have these strategic and tactical plans. Here in Caloocan City, you have these elements.”

Secretary Dar also underscored the importance of understanding the strategy of balancing health management and opening the economy.

“We need to open up the economy so that there will be more jobs, more employment opportunities, and more food will be produced,” he said.

As one of the major responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Dar enjoined the team to continue to elevate the country’s food production efforts, which ensured sufficient food supply in the last six months.

“We are one with all of you to really fight and win over this war against Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He also suggested for the city’s distribution of food packs to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by buying processed products from them and for the local government to buy fresh products like fruits and vegetables.

According to Secretary Dar, the establishment of sustainable urban gardens in each of the city’s 188 barangays will also benefit the community in terms of the food supply.

During their visit, the CODE Team inducted the Caloocan City’s Barangay Disiplina Brigades (BDB) with five barangay chairpersons present on-site and 183 chairpersons and 40 city department units heads who joined via video conference.

The BDB, which is part of the national advocacy program called “BIDA ang May Disiplina: Solusyon sa Covid-19,” will serve as the BIDA Ambassadors in each barangay to promote the spirit of volunteerism and practicing self-discipline to help safeguard the country from Covid-19.

A ceremonial turnover of personal protective equipment and hygiene kits was also conducted as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s project called the “Mask para sa Masa.”

The project aims to provide 30 million locally-made washable face masks to poor families in high-risk areas and support MSMEs affected by the pandemic.

With a population of 1.6 million, Caloocan City is the third most populated city in the National Capital Region, next to Quezon City (2.9 million) and Manila (1.8 million). ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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