June 17, 2024

The City Health Services Office stressed the policy of Baguio to require individuals who may be allowed to enter the city during the modified general community quarantine to undergo triage at the facility set up at the St. Vincent Church gym along the Quirino Highway.

Dr. Celia Brillantes, assistant city health services officer, made the statement following criticisms when the team of San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, who breached the city’s border control protocol at the Kennon Road checkpoint last June 5 and went straight to their destination in the city, underwent triage at the premises of the Baguio Country Club instead of the area set by the city for individuals entering Baguio.

She said the decision was not a form of special treatment but primarily to contain them and prevent exposure of residents.

She hoped that the incident will not set a precedent since the city remains firm on imposing the established health and safety protocols, which include the implementation of border controls and triage process.

Brillantes said the directive from the City Mayor’s Office when the Zamora entourage was already at the BCC was for them to dispatch a triage team from the St. Vincent facility to the BCC.

“Bringing them to St. Vincent, when they were already there at the BCC, may only expose our people. So, they had better stay at the BCC and for the triage team to go there,” Brillantes said during an online briefing on Covid-19 and other diseases with the Department of Health-Cordillera and health officers of local government units on June 9.

A team composed of a doctor and two nurses was sent to the BCC, where there already was a tent long before set up by the hotel management for some purposes that it can be used.

“We were directed to go there but it should not be a precedent. In the first place, we still do not accept people coming here for leisure,” Brillantes said.

She said the triage team went there primarily to have them see if the group has signs and symptoms of the Covid-19 and to enroll them in the city’s tracker system, which is the most important thing for them to be able to do monitoring.

“Now, they are still being monitored by our team even if they have already gone home to San Juan,” Brillantes said.

She said the public must follow the city’s protocols, including the need to present a health declaration form and to undergo triage at the city assigned triage center. – Hanna C. Lacsamana