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Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro / Marikina PIO

Marikina copes with 'new normal' 

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Marikina City is reconfiguring the set-up of the city's offices, workplaces, establishments, and other facilities as part of the "new normal" and to boost preventive measures to curb transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said the local government is strictly following the health protocols and guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to sustain the stricter physical distancing measures and quarantine protocols within the city.

"Nireview ho namin yung work-setting namin, ang probleman namin, nakita namin yung opisina namin wala palang negative pressure, walang nilalabasan yung hangin naka air-condition lang yung ano, tapos medyo yung social distancing sa opisina may mali po (We reviewed our work setting, our problem, and we noticed that there's no negative pressure within our office, the air couldn't come out and there's a concern on social distancing in the office)," he said, citing that transmissions are happening inside facilities.

"So we are trying to reconfigure our work setting as well as hindi lang ho yung (not only in the) city government pati po sa (but also in the) private [sectors], yun lang yung challenge po sa private wala na silang panggawa (the challenge is that they are not capable) so we are trying to subsidize the reconfiguration," he added.

Teodoro pointed out there is a need to consider reconfiguring the workplaces to facilitate physical distancing measures and avoid further local transmission within workplaces.

"Hindi po pwedeng trace lang (nang) trace, treat lang nang treat, pati sa (We can't just do tracing and treating only even in our) engineering, even in our infrastructure, we need to reconfigure everything," Teodoro said.

He said the government should also practice reconfiguring the environment, apart from imposing minimum health standards.

"Halimabawa lang ho, pinako-compute ko ho yung mga work area namin, 'yung area ho mismo tapos tinitingnan ho namin 'yung capacity lang ng taong pupwede roon, halimbawa in a 50 square meters (sqm) office, ilan lang yung capacity ng tao na pupwede dun? (For example, we computed our work areas, the area itself and we are figuring out the capacity of people can fit there, in an instance of a 50- sqm. office, how many people capacity could enter?) So we're doing that now," he said.

"Tingin ko ho (I think) that's a new normal," he said.

Teodoro said the city government has been considering the setup of the health centers, public terminals, and other facilities to avoid Covid-19 contamination in such areas.

"'Yung mga tricycle terminals ho namin nira-rationalize po namin (We are also rationalizing our tricycle terminals), because you cannot go back in a usual manner dati hindi na ho iba na talaga eh (unlike before, it's different now) we need to recognize the fact that it is really different now," he added.

The national government has also recognized the best practices and response of the Marikina government to combat Covid-19.

Meanwhile, officials of the Covid-19 Coordinated Operations to Defeat Epidemic (CODE) team, the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, and the IATF led by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Prospero de Vera met with the Marikina local government officials to discuss the city's current crisis situation, statistics, best practices and health protocols in the city.

The city government received face masks during the ceremonial launch of the "Masks Para sa Masa program," a strategic plan which aims to provide about 30 million free face masks to Filipinos amid the health crisis.

The Department of Health turned over personal protective equipment (PPE) sets, hygiene kits, and testing kits to the local government, which will be distributed to the healthcare professionals within the city.

The city also received boxes of 500 boxes of vitamins C and 500 boxes of 600 mg Mucolytics powder for oral solution donated by a private company.

During the visit, the IATF and the NTF members inspected the Marikina molecular laboratory and the city's swabbing facilities. 

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