In these trying times, it’s good to see some updates on how different localities are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto’s COVID-19 response has been garnering praise on social media, not in small part due to the young mayor’s charisma and no-nonsense politics.
We’re reviving our #SanaAll series by looking at what Local Government Units (LGUs) are doing, starting with Pasig City. This doesn’t aim to put any city’s response on a pedestal – in fact, we would like to see what works and what doesn’t. Luckily for Pasig, most of what they are doing is working so far.
So what exactly is Mayor Vico doing in Pasig during this time of COVID-19?
No Quarantine Pass issued
Other cities have distributed Quarantine Passes per household. This is in line with the national government’s instruction of having only one representative per household allowed to go out for supplies.
However, Mayor Vico has decided that they will not be issuing Quarantine Passes for Pasig. He said that there was no need for it, as they were being strict about prohibiting people who go out two or more at a time. In fact, he has mentioned that they will arrest people if they insist on violating the guidelines on social distancing.
He mentioned that it is difficult to issue a quarantine pass because of the large number of people in Pasig. He is also concerned that the application and issuance only encourages additional person-to-person contact.
Financial Aid to Vendors, PUV Drivers
Pasig is also doing some basic relief efforts like the other cities. During the earlier days of the quarantine, Mayor Vico announced that they will be giving out 400,000 food packs to their residents.
A well-received move was the announcement of providing financial aid to constituents who are not able to earn a living during the enhanced community quarantine. This would include vendors, as well as tricycle and jeepney drivers.
Mayor Vico has started to roll this out, as he announced last Thursday evening that they have allocated a total of ₱55.5 million to aid public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers. This amounts to ₱3,000 per driver.
This is expected to help a total of 12,000 tricycle drivers, 5,800 jeepney drivers, and 700 UV Express drivers. The distribution of cash assistance started on Monday, March 30.
Another initiative that was well-received was the Mobile Palengke. This aims to address the problem of crowds in the Pasig Mega Market and the other smaller markets by bringing the goods to the residents.
Upang mabawasan ang dami ng tao sa Pasig Mega Market at mga talipala, inilunsad namin ang MOBILE PALENGKE.
Presyong palengke, mas malapit sa mamimili, at tulong na rin sa mga maninindang Pasigueño.
— Vico Sotto (@VicoSotto) March 24, 2020
Mayor Vico explains that this is part of bolstering their efforts for social distancing, and still maintaining the access of residents to basic food items.
Finally, an initiative that really went viral was the purchasing of Mayor Vico of three octocopter drones. These are being used to disinfect areas in the city.
Photo from: Esquire/Bryant Wong
The DJI MG-1P drones are originally designed to spray pesticides in farms. Each drone has a 10-liter payload, and will now be loaded with alcohol-based disinfectants or chlorine solution. This would greatly bolster Pasig City’s efforts of disinfection, as they can reach farther areas faster, without having to use much manpower.
These types of drones are also widely-used in China to fight the COVID-19 spread.
We need to learn from each other and adapt if we want to survive this pandemic. Hopefully these initiatives of Mayor Vico Sotto gives other LGUs ideas on what to implement in their own areas. Keep going, Mayor!