Janiuay distances while Calinog closes border with Lambunao


By Jennifer P. Rendon

The town of Janiuay, Iloilo is keeping its distance from its neighbour Lambunao after the latter recorded a lone fatality from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Janiuay made the move after Calinog, which is north of Lambunao, closed its border with Lambunao.

Police Captain Dadje Delima, Janiuay police chief, confirmed that they are strictly monitoring vehicles passing by Janiuay, especially those that came from Lambunao.

Vehicles are sanitized at Barangay Abangay, which sits in the boundary between Janiuay and Lambunao.

Upland barangays did not close their borders but quarantine control checkpoints are strictly enforcing protocols to limit or ban individuals who are not from the locality.

Delima said the measures are being done to ensure that COVID-19 will not spread in Janiuay.

On Monday, it was reported that Lambunao’s first COVID-19 patient died Sunday evening while being treated at a hospital.

Based on the Department of Health (DOH)-6 data, the 70-year-old male patient had no history of travel to areas with COVID-19 cases. His history of exposure, however, was still being verified.

On the same day that the news came out, Mayor Francisco Calvo of Calinog signed Executive Order No. 029 or “An Order Imposing the Temporary Closure of All Entry Points Leading to Lambunao Until Further Notice.”

Under the order, “all vehicles and pedestrians passing the route via Lambunao shall be denied entry to the Municipality of Calinog.”

Further, “anybody who intends to go out of Calinog shall be allowed provided however, upon his return shall be denied entry as well.”

But there are exemptions to the order:

-healthcare workers

-government officials and employees

-peace and order officers

-humanitarian and emergency services

-delivery of basic needs and facilities

-bantays or caregivers of patients confined at Dr. Ricardo S. Provido Memorial District Hospital (which is located in Lambunao) shall present certification or any proof and shall undergo quarantine procedure before they shall be permitted entry.

Calvo said that their goal is to just keep Calinog free from COVID-19.


Understandable but unnecessary

When asked to comment on the measures done by Janiuay and Calinog town, Board Member Jason Gonzales of the third district of Iloilo said he finds it unnecessary.

He, however, pointed out that he understands where their neighbors are coming from.

“I respect their decision but I find it unnecessary. If community quarantine is properly observed, I find it unnecessary, especially in the transport of food products,” he said.

Gonzales, who used to be the mayor of Lambunao, is the son of the current mayor Reynor Gonzales.

He said he understood if people have fears following the death of a COVID-19 patient.

“But I guess, if community quarantine and quarantine control points set up by barangays are in place, there would be no need for that,” he said.

In Lambunao, several measures were already in place to prevent transmission or spread of the disease.

“In every household, there must only be one person who is allowed to go out. The purpose of which should be to purchase essential things or buy goods,” he said.

Authorities are also tracing individuals who had contact with the fatality. Persons who may have been exposed were ordered to undergo home quarantine.

In fact, even the LGU staff who came in contact with the ambulance driver who brought the man to the hospital were also told to undergo self quarantine.

Vehicles passing in the area had their tires disinfected.

Gonzales said they also set up disinfectant tents in the town proper.

Clustering of barangays was also implemented to limit the number of people going to the public market.

Still, Gonzales said there are people, especially in the town proper, who are fearful over what happened.

While he may not be the mayor anymore, “I assure the people of Lambunao that there are measures being done to address their concerns.”

Gonzales only asked one thing from his father’s constituents, “please stay home and we could get through this.”