Mayor Nelson Legacion, in his second State of the City Report on Tuesday, Sept. 7, reported to Nagueños how the city government of Naga in partnership with other public agencies and private groups fared over the first half of 2021.
He said that from the last six months, starting in middle of February, the alpha and beta variants of Covid19 started infecting city residents. “And just last month, tests made by the Philippine Genome Center showed the presence of the more contagious Delta variant as well, with four cases in Naga,” the mayor said.
The presence of the highly contagious types of Covid fueled the second wave of the pandemic that made the city to register around 2,300 more cases over the last six months alone, compared to only 700 when the city registered its first case in April 2020.
“The surge peaked on June 5, 2021 when we registered the highest single-day record of 75. The following week, the city’s 7-day average reached its highest point at 33,” Legacion said.
The mayor gratefully acknowledged the personnel of the city government and the barangays in the continuing battle against Covid19. He said: “Thanks to the combined efforts of our frontliners – our health workers at the city and the barangay levels, uniformed personnel within city hall and the national government – and our partners, especially the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo and the local civil society – we succeeded in containing that wave of Covid.”
“But delta’s presence complicates our tasks,” he stressed. The mayor shared with his audience a study produced by the city’s Analytics group showing that while the average number of cases have gone down by around 200% by the middle of July, ranging between 10-15 per day, it has begun to progressively rise, ranging from 17 as of August 31 to as high as 24, five days earlier.
He said the city government is preparing for the worst. “Using available data from February to July, as well as studies from the UK and Europe, a do-nothing nightmare scenario can bring Covid cases in the thousands, with severe and critical cases (representing 2 to 2.5% of the total in Bicol) expected to reach several hundreds daily, which our hospitals – whose combined Covid beds are only around 230 – will not be able to handle,” he said.
Such situations, Legacion said, are already taking place in hard hit cities like Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Metro Manila, where the delta variant has run rampant.
He told the attendees that he has already directed the City Health Office and the City Budget Office to “procure mechanical ventilators and other paraphernalia so that the city can convert at least 5 beds at the Our Lady of Lourdes into rooms with ICU capabilities. “We have also touched base with local oxygen suppliers to make sure that we have enough of this critical commodity,” he said.
The report also shared to the public Naga’s sad commentary on IATF’s inaction on the request by local government units to procure their own vaccines.
As of September 6, 2021, the LGU has vaccinated only 38,599 individuals belonging to the health frontliners, the senior citizens and other vulnerable city residents, and key workers in the
“That number represents around 18% of our 2020 population of around 209 thousand, and is still a far cry from the 70 percent required. We could have done a lot more had the IATF allowed us to purchase our own vaccine supply. We have already set aside P63 million for the purpose, but for unknown reasons, the national government has largely prevented local governments from doing so,” the city mayor said.
The mayor decried the national government’s much-ballyhooed whole-of-society approach in battling the pandemic.
While saying that the city government will do everything within its powers to manage the continuing crisis to ensure that the best response is delivered on the ground, Legacion has called on the Nagueños to give their continuing cooperation, perseverance, discipline, and sense of responsibility to tide us over this pandemic.
Reviving the local economy
In response to the national government’s call to slowly reopen the economy, Legacion said the city implemented 3 new complementary programs that accelerated the process:
- The Business Stimulus program that provided interest-free loans to various types of businesses in the city. The program has benefited 149 local businesses employing a combined 488 workers, extending to them a total of P9.3-M in loans.
- The Tabang Tugang aimed at displaced workers who wanted to establish online and offline livelihood ventures. The program provided a P5,000 interest-free loan to 69 beneficiaries with a combined amount of P210,000.
- The Community Employment Program that provided short-term 10-day work for a total of 2,932 beneficiaries.
The mayor whose speech lasted for an hour has obtained 19 applauses from the selected number of around 120 attendees. The event was live via the city government Facebook page.
Saying that the city government is already looking beyond Covid to lay down the foundation for Naga’s sustained growth and development, the city mayor reported some of the LGU’s completed and ongoing high-impact projects.
Concluding the mayor’s SOCR is the summary of key accomplishments of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the various departments and offices of the city government.