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TACLOBAN CITY, June 22 (PIA) -- All Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) should undergo RT-PCR/COVID-19 confirmatory test before going home to Eastern Visayas.

This was among the suggestions given by the provincial LCEs in a virtual meeting among the Eastern Visayas governors and the Region 8 IATF on COVID-19 on June 18, hosted by the Department of the Interior and Local Government 8 (DILG-8).

The governors, who shared their insights and suggestions to strengthen government efforts against COVID 19 in the region, noted that LSIs constitute the bulk of confirmed COVID positive in the region as only health certificate and travel authority are needed for them to be able to come home.

The Department of Health Region 8 recorded that the LSIs constitute the biggest number of confirmed COVID positive cases in the region, followed by the returning OFWs and the beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsiya program.

Joining the meeting were Gov. Rogelio Espina of Biliran, Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla of Leyte, Gov. Edwin Marino Ongchuan of Northern Samar and Gov. Reynolds Michael Tan of Samar. Gov. Damian Mercado of Southern Leyte had to chair a PIATF meeting being held simultaneously and was represented by Provincial Administrator Jason Calva.

A corollary suggestion was that considering the testing capacity of health facilities, the LSIs should be swabbed at the health facility of origin. The swab samples may be sent to Region 8 via EVRMC for processing of the result.

One more suggestion was for the temporary suspension of the repatriation of LSIs, returning Overseas Filipinos and the Balik Probinsiya Program (already suspended).

The governors also suggested for the National Government to establish/assign Quarantine Area per province for LSIs where the PCR Test will be conducted first. This was forwarded to the National IATF for its comment and action.

The governors also requested for DepEd to allow Local Government Units in Eastern Visayas to utilize school buildings as isolation facilities, beyond June 30, 2020.




PALO, Leyte, June 20 (PIA) -- The Department of Health in Eastern Visayas (DOH-8) warned that if the trend continues,  there is a big possibility that COVID-19 cases in the region will double in two-weeks’ time.

In an Advisory, DOH-8 said when that happens, the health systems might be overwhelmed as patients will either be in a hospital or at a quarantine facility for 14 days which will also deplete resouces especially Human Resource.

To prevent this scenario from happening, the health department in the region is calling  for everyone’s cooperation. Adherence by everyone to health protocols is a must.

Adhere to the strict isolation and  quarantine protocols. Those who have symptoms must isolate themselves and quarantine those who are asymptomatic but with known exposure.  Those who belong to the vulnerable group or elderly, high-risk pregnancy and persons with comorbidities or pre-existing conditions, must be admitted to a health facility.

In order to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and to break the chain of transmission, everyone must be cautious, practice minimum health standards and adapt to the “New Normal” by practicing frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, proper wearing of facemask, observing physical distancing for at least one meter, proper cough etiquette, and avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings or physical close interaction.



TACLOBAN CITY, June 3 – To ensure continuity of programs and services amid Covid-19 pandemic, the Eastern Visayas Health Research and Development Consortium (EVHRDC) has started the conduct of meetings among its member institutions during the months of April and May.

The activities are part of the consortium’s commitment in pursuit to produce research outputs and other related concerns that would help improve the health conditions of the region’s populace.

Considering that the consortium is composed of different committees whose members come from various institutions all over the region, regular sharing of insights, plans and other concerns were mostly done through virtual meetings.

This is among the precautionary measures imposed to avoid transmission of the disease while the country is currently experiencing the health crisis and community quarantine being implemented in the different localities.

The EVHRDC as spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is consortium that serves as a venue for inter-agency efforts geared towards health advancement and stability.

The consortium is composed of five (5) working committees namely: Ethics Review Committee (ERC), Research Management Committee (RMC), Capacity Building Committee (CBC), Research Utilization Committee (RUC); the Structure, Organization, Monitoring, and Evaluation Committee (SOME).  

For the Ethics Review Committee, it has checked during the meeting on the five (5) new and continuing research protocols that required ethical clearance for the conduct of the study. The committee has also revisited the WFP for the year and identified activities that either need to be pushed through or be cancelled based on the current COVID-19 situation, among others.

ERC Virtual and Physical Meeting for the 2nd Full Review of protocols on May 12, 2020 at the DOST8 Conference Room and via Zoom Conference. The committee members observed physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

The Research Management Committee on the other hand has tackled possible strategies in conducting the identified activities given the current status. It has also reviewed three capsule proposals and seven terminal reports on completed funded projects.

1st Quarter RMC Meeting on May 13, 2020 via Cisco Webex


2nd Quarter RMC Virtual and Physical Meeting on May 21, 2020 at the DOST8 Conference Room and via Cisco Webex. The committee members observed physical distancing and wearing of face masks.

 While the Capacity Building Committee has discussed the revised Work and Financial Plan, it has also dealt with the list of collaborative projects for submission to the Philippine Center for Health Research and Development or PCHRD. These include the trainings on Critiquing of Proposals for Trainer on Basic Research Methods, Basic Research Methods Training (Phase 2), and the Writeshop on the Finalization of Terminal Reports for completed research projects.

1st Quarter CBC Meeting via Zoom Conference on April 30, 2020


2nd Quarter CBC Meeting via Zoom Conference on April 30, 2020

On the other hand, the use and possible subscription of the Webinar platform for the conduct of identified activities, was decided during the virtual meeting of the Research Utilization Committee. These include the dissemination of completed researches, orientation on the HERDIN Plus database system, and the conduct of the regular Regional Health Research Symposium where some researchers regionwide compete on the Oral Research Paper Presentation and Exhibit of Posters.

RUC 1st Quarter Meeting on May 6, 2020 via Zoom Conference   RUC 2nd Quarter Meeting on May 13, 2020 via Facebook Messenger

 The Structure, Organization, Monitoring, and Evaluation Committee has focused on the revision of the work and financial plan as well as the plans for the mid-year and year-end assessments, among the urgent concerns.

Other important discussions were held at the Department of Science and Technology, while strictly observing mandated health protocols. (GTT/PIA-Leyte).

SOME 1st Quarter Meeting Via Zoom on May 8, 2020


SOME 2nd Quarter Meeting Via Google Meet on May 19, 2020

Here’s good news on the testing capacity of both Eastern and Western Visayas.

Eastern Visayas no longer has any backlog on COVID-19 test results, Regional Director Minerva Molon of the Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas reported during the Mugstoria Ta aired live Monday to Friday at 1 p.m. on the Facebook page of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas.

According to Molon, Region 8 has two testing centers, one of which is the government-run Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) in Tacloban City.

The other testing center is located at the Divine Word Hospital also in Tacloban City. Both hospitals are capable of conducting Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

“We can still cope (with the testing demand) and we don’t have backlogs,” Molon pointed out.

The EVRMC laboratory, which opened on May 11, has conducted 2,155 tests as of Friday last week, Molon revealed.

On the other hand, the Divine Word Hospital could conduct two testing runs per day, ranging from 90 to 150 tests, she added.

However, she added that they have to prepare for the testing requirements of all incoming residents, who have to undergo swab tests.

They have 4,600 detection kits available but they have requested for more kits from the governors and mayors of two cities, Molon said. So far, Biliran has committed to provide 40 testing kits, she said.




TACLOBAN CITY, June 3 (PIA) -- The Commission on Population and Development – Regional Office 8 (POPCOM-8) has started the assessment of demographic vulnerability of communities to COVID-19, which is aimed at providing additional information and technical guidance to national and local agencies through demographic variables.

The assessment is significant in the planning, implementation and monitoring of pandemic response at various levels.

During the Regional Population Executive Board (RPEB) meeting held on May 29 in Tacloban City, it was learned that the demographic vulnerability pertains to the demographic characteristics of population that may cause or enhance the exposure or possibility of individuals to be infected with the communicable disease.

The vulnerability assessment used demographic tables, included key indicators such as population density, household size and density, number of senior citizens and their living arrangement and, localities with demographic vulnerability.

Ms. Linsie Arteche of POPCOM said, “Through this tool, priority groups and areas for relief operations are determined, as well as the type and quantity of the needed support. Proper location of quarantine sites is likewise identified.”

The undertaking, Arteched said, is premised on the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-01 or “Assessing the Demographic Vulnerabilities of Communities and Households to COVID-19 Infections in Planning and Implementing Efficient Pandemic Response at the Local and Community Levels.”

Issued last April 17, 2020, the JMC was signed by Secretaries Francisco Duque of the Department of Health (DOH), Eduardo Año of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Ernesto Pernia of the Socio-Economic Planning and the Executive Director of the Commission on Population and Development, Juan Antonio Perez III.