Despite the continued rise in coronavirus disease (Covid-19) cases, Iloilo City is now working to bring its economy back to protect residents from losing their jobs and businesses.
In a Laging Handa public briefing on Saturday, Iloilo City Mayor Geronimo Treñas warned that failing to revive the economy could have “disastrous” effects because it is one of the few cities in the country that sources 58 percent of its local income from local businesses.
“I believe the virus will stay with us for some time, there will always be times when people will be positive. We only live with it, perhaps with certain protocols. Otherwise, if we cannot proceed to start to revive our economy the effects will be very disastrous,” he said.
He said that if the city government would not revive the economy, it could suffer from a “bleak future” especially next year.
“We just have to go on. I am already meeting with the different sectors in Iloilo City telling them that while we have to follow certain protocols, we just have to move on. We cannot remain in this state forever. Otherwise, more people will be losing their job, more businesses will be closing and then when the time comes, it will be difficult to jumpstart our economy again,” he said.
Treñas assured that the city government is strictly implementing health and safety protocols to prevent a further increase in Covid-19 cases.
On the increase in Covid-19 cases, he admitted that the city had “issues” in accepting repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs).
“I understand that they want to go back to their families after so long and we allowed home quarantine for a while. However, I received reports that they have violated their home quarantine and there are two LSIs who went home, we placed them under home quarantine they turned positive. But I was informed that one of them played basketball, had a manicure, went drinking,” he said.
However, he said the city government will continue to accept them amid the reimposition of border restrictions in Iloilo province.
Under government protocols, all OFWs undergo mandatory quarantine and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. On the other hand, LSIs undergo rapid antibody testing in Metro Manila and quarantine and PCR testing in their respective hometowns.
As of July 3, Western Visayas recorded 12 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the region’s total tally to 365.
Iloilo City has a total of 31 confirmed Covid-19 cases. (PNA)