With the first COVID-19 case in Mindanao confirmed, DILG-Region 10 urged barangays to step up their CoVid 19 precautionary measures by mobilizing Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).
“There is a need to heighten the efforts, especially on the barangay level as the BHERTS are aimed to help in the containment, control and prevention of COVID 19,” said DILG 10 Regional Director Arnel M. Agabe.
Earlier, DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano directed all local chief executives (LCEs) to activate BHERTs in all barangays. Each barangay chairperson or Punong Barangay (PB) are expected to appoint BHERT members composed of an executive officer, a barangay tanod, and two barangay health workers, one of them a nurse or a midwife. BHERT members shall be equipped with protective gears such as surgical gowns, goggles, masks, and gloves.
In Memorandum Circular 2020-018, the DILG secretary said the BHERTs should visit the home of arriving passengers from a coronavirus-infected country within the locality. They will then list down the names of persons that the suspect has had contact with or get a copy of the list of arrivals from the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
The BHERTs shall also require newly-arrived passengers in their localities to record daily body temperature in the morning and afternoon, for the next 14 days of home confinement, and observe possible coronavirus symptoms.
“Karon ang panahon nga gikinahanglan nato ang kaabtik sa atong mga Punong Barangay aron mas dali nato ma-trace ni nga mga tawo [We need our Punong barangays to be active during these times so that we could easily these people],” said RD Agabe.
He added that Punong Barangays, in coordination with the city/municipal health and police authorities, shall assist in the safe transfer of a Person Under Investigation (PUI) to a Department of Health (DOH)-designated referral center or quarantine facility.
“Collaborative effort is the key in preventing further transmission of COVID 19; thus, we need our barangays to be on board and provide necessary assistance to the Department of Health, local governments, and all involved agencies and sectors,” Agabe said.
Moreover, DILG encouraged the BHERTS to help in disseminating information such as the DOH-coined term “HANDS”, which stands for Hand wash regularly, Avoid crowds, Never cough without handkerchief or tissue, Do wear mask if sick or health care setting, and Seek early consultation.