MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – Another local official in North Cotabato has tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Vice Mayor Cheryl Valdevieso-Catamco of Matalam, North Cotabato has been isolated in a hospital in Davao City.
She is the second elected official of the municipality who got infected.
Emilia Dandoy, municipal local government operations officer, in a statement on Wednesday, said Councilor Ralph Ryan Rafael has assumed as acting vice mayor.
Dandoy said by operation of law, the number one elected town councilor shall assume as the acting vice mayor to avoid a vacuum in the legislative branch of the municipal government.
In May, Councilor April Babol also contracted the virus but has returned to her legislative work after recovering.
“I urge fellow Matalameños to pray for the fast recovery of our vice mayor and strengthen their family and our municipality in these trying times,” Babol said in a separate statement.
Meanwhile, in Tulunan town, Mayor Reuel “Pip” Limbungan has also returned to work at the town hall after recovering from the virus.
Earlier, other town executives – Jesus Sacdalan of Alamada, Florenito Gonzaga of Magpet, and Makilala Mayor Armando Quibod and Vice Mayor Ryan Tabanay – have all beaten the disease.
Ali Abdullah, Department of the Interior and Local Government provincial officer, said more local officials in the province are exposed to the virus because they continue to perform their duties.
“Sometimes, there were unguarded movements, they forgot to properly use the face mask and face shield, so they (got) infected,” Abdullah said in a radio interview Wednesday.
North Cotabato remains under general community quarantine until July 31, based on Executive Order 33 issued by Governor Nancy Catamco.
To date, North Cotabato, comprising Kidapawan City and 17 towns, has a total of 687 active Covid-19 cases. (PNA)