Iloilo City to appeal Alert Level 3 retention; Iloilo province stays put

Children aged 5 to 11 years old receive their first COVID vaccine jabs at the West Visayas State University Cultural Center in La Paz, Iloilo City on Monday, Feb 14, 2022. The Iloilo provincial government provided the vaccines. (Joseph B.A. Marzan)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The city and province of Iloilo had different responses to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF-MEID) announcement that the two areas will remain under Alert Level 3 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a text message, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said that he would be appealing the city’s status, citing the downtrend in cases in the city as well as the economic effects of pandemic-related restrictions.

“I have given instructions to [COVID Focal Person] Dr. Roland Fortuna and the City Legal Office to prepare the formal appeal on the alert level given to Iloilo City. Cases have been going down for the past two weeks already,” Treñas said in a text message.

But Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said he felt that the province’s current status was “in the right place”, and that they would abide by it.

“[Alert Level 3 status] is correct for us. Considering the number of cases, and how the healthcare system has responded to it, if the number will continue in the next several days of the next 2 weeks, then that would be the correct Alert Level for us,” Defensor told Daily Guardian via phone.

The Department of Health-Western Visayas Center for Health Development’s (DOH-WV CHD) situational report as of Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, indicated that both the city and province were at Moderate Risk but are determined to remain under Alert Level 3.

This was based on their recent Average Daily Attack Rates (ADARs) of 30.91 (Iloilo City) and 9.95 (Iloilo province) between Jan. 28 to Feb. 10, and Health Care Utilization Rates (HCURs) of 61.24 percent (city) and 56.97 percent (province) as of Feb. 13.

The ADAR refers to the average number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period, while the HCUR refers to the number of COVID-dedicated beds and mechanical ventilators in hospitals.

The alert level statuses in the country were announced by acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles on Monday, Feb. 14.

Guimaras joins the city and province of Iloilo under Alert Level 3, while Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City were downgraded to Alert Level 2.