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MAASIN CITY, Feb. 5 (PIA) -- Citing constitutional provision on the people’s right to health, Gov. Damian Mercado on Monday, Feb. 3, formed an inter-agency task force that will focus its efforts on the 2019 new Corona Virus disease.

The Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), referred simply as the “Task Force” as per Executive Order No. 05, is headed by the governor himself as chairperson, with Dr. Feliciano John Matibag, Jr., provincial health officer II as co-chair, and Board Member Napoleon Regis, chairman on the SP committee on health, as vice-chair.

The 14-member Task Force included the following: Aileen Estrera, chairperson SP committee on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Danilo Atienza, PDRRM officer; PCol. Nelson Eucogco, PNP provincial director; Dr. Verna Fernandez, provincial DOH representative; Dr. Julius Duarte, program manager, DRRM-H; Joewil Napuli, disease surveillance officer; Geraldine Maquilabit, DILG provincial director; Nedgar Garvez, provincial tourism officer; Misael Paigan, Philhealth representative; Pedro Escobarte, DepEd provincial schools division superintendent; Jonas Maco, Philippine Red Cross administrator; C/Insp. Dorotheo Claro Mocorro, Bureau of Fire Protection; SCPO Renato Salvame, Philippine Coast Guard; and Mrs. Jonah R. Tabinas, Philippine Ports Authority.

Among its main functions is to “establish a system to identify, screen, and assist patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with Emerging Infectious Diseases (novel corona virus).”

It is also empowered to come up with strategies on preventing and/or minimizing “entry of suspected or confirmed patients,” screening, identifying suspects, and the “institutionalization of surveillance, alert, and quarantine system in all ports of entry.”

As to funding needs, “the member agencies . . . can access to quick response fund (QRF) of the province for the implementation of the order, for preparedness, prevention, control and management of this emerging infectious disease of 2019 novel coronavirus.” (nbq/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)