December 2, 2022

When Sadanga, Mountain Province Mayor Gabino Ganggangan said no one should debate him on his issuance of a directive containing “new normal” policies in his town, he was summoned by the Department of the Interior and Local Government to a Zoom meeting with officials of the Regional Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to explain his policy that deviated from protocols on Covid-19 response.
RIATF co-chair and Department of Health-Cordillera Director Ruby Constantino said the task force respects the autonomy of local governments but Ganggangan has to follow the protocols set by the national government through the National IATF on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“We answered each point the mayor raised and the task force decided na hindi pwede ‘yung gusto ni mayor na walang lockdown at home confinement na lang ‘yung mga positive,” Constantino said in a press conference last Feb. 24.
On Feb. 13, Ganggangan posted on his Facebook account that under that new normal in Sadanga, use of face shields and masks, and lockdowns will no longer be enforced.
He also mandated those with Covid-19 stay at home, take vitamin C, and do steam inhalation (suob) until they recover.
Ganggangan also considered the Covid-19 as a typical disease that will naturally weaken when an individual has a strong immune system.
The national and international protocols in Covid-19 response are to isolate either in a hospital or isolation facility those who have Covid-19; quarantine their close contacts; for the public wear face masks and face shields; and lock down some areas as part of virus containment.
Constantino said taking in of vitamin C is meant to boost the immune system and suob can help in nasal congestion or can provide psychological relief, but there is no scientific proof that these can cure those with Covid-19.
Constantino also said Ganggangan’s decision were based on observation and informal meetings but do not have the concurrence of the municipal IATF or the sangguniang bayan.
Meanwhile, the DOH office in Mountain Province has coordinated with Ganggangan over his claim that some Covid-19 patients have not been given proper treatment while confined in a hospital.
“The mayor did not mention the hospital but our provincial office will look into this allegation of Mayor Ganggangan,” Constantino said.
A written directive to follow the IATF protocols has been sent to Ganggangan. – Rimaliza A. Opiña