The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) has assured local policymakers the province remains capable of sustaining the campaign against COVID-19, even as it dismissed speculations of another province-wide lockdown.

PDRRM head Jerry Alili told Sangguniang Panlalawigan members a lockdown is only considered as a “worst-case scenario” in the event of a rise in the number of confirmed cases beyond 100.

“Kapag nagkaroon ng mga 50-100 na cases sa Palawan, andoon ‘yong ating threshold na puwedeng maglockdown province wide,” Alili said.

He explained, however, that they are following the new guidelines issued by the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) that provides for a strategy of containment of smaller areas.

“Sa bagong guidelines na in-issue ng national IATF, katulad ng ginawa ng Puerto Princesa, kapag may positive, ‘yong specific area lang. Nagkakaroon ng localized critical zone, containment zone at buffer zone,” he said.

Allili made the clarification when asked by board member Purita Seguritan if amelioration would still be given to constituents if Palawan were to be placed under lockdown.

“Kung maglo-lockdown ang Palawan, mayroon pa tayong puwedeng magamit na pondo. Ang kagandahan lang ngayon ay mayroon tayong bagong guidelines na ‘yong lockdown ay may mga criteria na kailangang sundin,” said Allili.

He stated that under these guidelines, localized lockdowns, or zoning, are recommended for areas with high incidences of COVID-19. He also stated that a province-wide lockdown is only to be used under the worst circumstances.

“Mayroong zoning na kailangang sundin based on sa dami ng mga cases. So ‘yong paglolockdown ng entire Palawan sa ngayon is the worst-case scenario that we expect,” said Allili.

Allili referred to the latest localized lockdown in Barangay Santa Monica that began on June 29, where there are six residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

Allili said that localized lockdowns are more manageable.

“So, iyon po ang proceso natin sa ngayon. Magandang proseso iyon dahil mafofocus natin ang mga resources natin doon,” said Allili.