By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — With Omicron cases peaking in Metro Manila and spreading to the provinces, Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero urged the Department of Health (DOH) to empower local government units (LGUs) to implement a pandemic response tailored to local health realities, instead of compelling them to follow frequently changing national health guidelines.
Escudero said local chief executives have come up with their own effective approaches to managing COVID-19 over nearly two years of the pandemic, but they are derailed by ever-changing directions from the DOH-led Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“Sa totoo lang napakaraming best practices ang mga gobernador at mayor sa buong bansa—talo at malayo ang mga ginagawa ng DOH at IATF sa ngayon—na kung bibigyan buwelo lang sana sa mga lokal na pamalahaang ito, magiging mas maganda ang COVID-19 response ng ating bansa,” said Escudero, whose province has secured ISO certification for all its public hospitals.