The city government has deployed COVID-19 marshals to strengthen its information, education, and enforcement efforts against the pandemic as Puerto Princesa remains under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
City mayor Lucilo Bayron, who led the program launch on Thursday morning, said that these COVID-19 marshals will be in-charge in the implementation of a “friendly persuasion” reminder to the residents of Puerto Princesa on the public health standards under MGCQ, including the wearing of face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
“Hindi kasi natin kayang bantayan ang bawat isa. Mas maaga tayong makakabalik sa dati natin at mas magiging maayos ‘yong takbo ng minimithi nating kaunlaran sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa. So paano natin magagawang kusa ang bawat isa na sumunod sa health protocol? ‘Yon ang rason kaya naisipan na magtayo, mag-organize, mag-train, at mag-deploy tayo ng mga COVID-19 marshals,” Bayron said.
Around 1,400 COVID-19 marshals, who signed up voluntarily, including government employees from 35 urban barangays were deputized, wearing purple with a “COVID-19 marshal” stamp on their polo shirts, to help police and barangay personnel to remind and call out residents caught violating public health protocols.
Jessie Zumarraga Cabanag, a COVID-19 marshal, told Palawan news in an interview that he can attest to people breaching minimum health protocols and that’s the reason why he volunteered as COVID 19 marshal.
“Ako na witness ko rin sa aming barangay, pag sabihan mo ng isang beses hindi sila makuha sa ganun. Bilang kagawad, gusto ko rin na magkaisa—na dapat disiplinado lalo na ngayon mag bubukas na ang ating airport, magkakaroon tayo ng LSI. Kailangan dobleng ingat kaya isa po ako sa nag volunteer bilang isang COVID marshal,” Cabanag said.
Bayron said that this program will last “as long as the city needs” to ensure that each barangay enforce minimum health protocols.
“Hangga’t marami ang nag viviolate, mas kakailanganin natin ito. Pero kung automatic na sa mga mamamayan natin ‘yong pag sunod sa minimum health protocols siguro puwedeng i-hybernate ‘yong ating COVID marshal,” Bayron added.
As of Thursday morning, the city has a single active case from a total of 117 recorded confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 115 recoveries and one casualty.
(With a report from Romar Miranda)