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Pasig continues to rise above Covid-19

Aian Guanzon


There is no doubt that COVID-19 is going to be among those pandemics that will be on top of the rankings when it comes to global impact among crises our generation has faced, but it will also be one for the books as #UnstoppablePasiguenos have proven that ordinary citizens can be a strong partner of a local government unit (LGU) that does its job well.


Looking back before the pandemic


With a population of more than 755,000, you would actually think that it is very difficult for an LGU to handle a crisis in Pasig City, but the current team has been showing how it's done. Mayor Vico Sotto has communicated many of his plans for reforms early on his term, including more transparent governance, and providing people more access to information through “Ugnayan sa Pasig”. He has also been cited recognizing good acts and hardwork, and calling out the corrupts.

Pasig City ranked first on both Early Warning System and Local Risk Assessment measures according to Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index 2019 (cmci.dti.gov.ph). And these recognitions numerically mark the city's level of preparedness when it comes to handling crises, just like this existing Covid-19 pandemic. The city also tops the ranking when it comes to Availability of Basic Utilities and Presence of Investment Promotion Unit.


All of these seem to have prepared the city for the unexpected challenge.


How it is now

As of July 31, Pasig has 1,749 Covid-19 cases with 1,206 recoveries, according to covid19stats.ph.


The city's proactiveness and preparedness can be felt by the people in the community, proven by an independent, non-commissioned survey, reported by Manila Standard, which says that 86% of Pasig residents approve of the way Sotto and City Government continue to respond to and address the Covid-19 health crisis. The survey was conducted by RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. (RPMD Inc.) and used face-to-face interviews and had 3,000 respondents. This doesn't come as a surprise since Sotto and his team has been assertive in finding solutions and vocal about bold action plans which set them apart from other local government units. Let's not forget his proposal to maximize the utilization of tricycles, the usage of drones in disinfecting, and the establishment of a centralized quarantine facility, among others.


Sotto announced via a Facebook Live video that the city is also now implementing TAPAT - Tulong at Pampuhunang Ayuda sa Taga-Pasig program, which offers financial loans to job seekers, entrepreneurs and businesses in the city. It is offered on a 'first come, first serve' basis for those who can comply with the requirements. Under the TAPAT program, the three types of loans with zero interest rate include Balik Negosyo, Bagong Negosyo and Balik Trabaho. Mayor Vico also shared that applicants may apply online through pasig.accessleap.com or visit the TAPAT Help Desk located at GAD Compound, Pasig City Hall.


Moving Forward


According to a report from The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Mayor Vico Sotto made a commitment to implement the Fast-Track Cities Initiative (FTCI), which aims not just to further manage Covid-19 but the growing HIV pandemic as well. This showcases how deep into risk assessment and management the city is in, and how eager the team is to gear up for other challenges in the city.


Based on recent posts on Sotto’s official Facebook page, the team has been trying to obtain help and support from more healthcare frontliners and train contact tracers for their centralized community quarantine - all of these to handle the incessantly increasing number of Covid-19 cases and the dropping availability of medical practitioners and facilities. The mayor himself attended one of the training sessions to show his support.

With the unit’s existing actions, it is clear that it aims to help and reach out to more of its people and continue to #RiseAbove.

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