MANILA — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday announced the cancellation of the city’s events for the 83rd “Araw ng Dabaw” celebration amid a novel coronavirus epidemic.
In a social media post, Duterte said, “We have been following the pronouncements of the Department of Health and it has released last February 7 the advisory on public gatherings, thus it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to cancel the following events:"
- Pasiugdang Pagsaulog
- Reyna Dabawenya
- Ginoong Davao
- Sayaw Pinoy
- Kalingawan sa Sta. Ana
- Mutya ng Dabaw
- Araw ng Empleyado
- Kanta Bidabawenyo
- Parada Dabawenyo, and
- the Datu Bago Awards
Araw ng Dabaw is a city-wide celebration for the anniversary of Davao City on March 16.
“We have seen an increasing number of people getting the infection worldwide. Our health care facilities in Davao City have limitations and we cannot possibly carry hundreds of sick individuals all at the same time,” Duterte said of the novel coronavirus that has already claimed the lives of more than 900 people and infected over 40,000 mainly in China and in several other countries.
Duterte laments “there is still no answer when it (the epidemic) will be stabilized or its spread across the globe be fully controlled.”
Three Chinese travelers have tested positive for the 2019-nCoV while in the Philippines, although health officials regard them as "imported cases" as the patients came from the Chinese City of Wuhan where the virus originated. So far, 281 others in the country were monitored for possible infection.
On Friday, the Philippine health department issued an advisory strongly urging the public to “avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees.” The agency recommended the cancellation of such events until further notice.
In line with the city government's plan to avoid the spread of the infection, Duterte urged Davao City residents to learn more about the virus and how they can keep their families safe.
“It is important to keep your immune system strong. Avoid crowded places and activities that will propagate the spread of the virus,” she said.
Duterte said preparations made for the 2020 events will instead be used for the 2021 Araw ng Dabaw celebration.
The mayor also announced that starting Feb. 11, “all welcome and send-off groups at airports, seaports, bus terminals, and other transportation hubs" are prohibited.
In addition to precautions against the 2019-nCoV, it is also for safety and security, she said.
Only port and terminal employees, drivers and passengers will be allowed in those areas.
Duterte also ordered the Department of Trade and Industry “to ensure that the price freeze memorandum of the DOH, the price tag, suggested retail price and other pertinent regulations on all goods and commodities are strictly implemented.”
“Business permits of stores caught selling overpriced items and hoarding food and other supplies shall be canceled and their establishment padlocked,” she said.
She advised people with sore throat, cough, fever, and other flu-like symptoms to avoid travel and seek medical assistance.
“Schools, offices and business establishments are advised to come up with guidelines to ensure that students and employees who are sick are not allowed entry to the school or workplace,” Duterte said.
“While we have a health issue at hand, please DO NOT PANIC. Instead, report to the authorities and seek immediate and appropriate medical help.”