Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered a 14-day quarantine and mandatory swab testing of all children in conflict with the law (CICL) to be released from any of the holding facilities in the province to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Garcia issued executive order (EO) 15-A dated May 6, 2020, laying down protocols to be followed in releasing CICLs from the capitol-run facility now that Cebu province is still combatting the spread of coronavirus.
Upon receiving a court order for the release, the head of the facility is ordered to immediately transfer the CICL to an isolation area to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.
The EO ordered the facility head to immediately inform the Provincial Health Office (PHO) that they have a CICL in isolation so that their personnel can monitor their health conditions.
On the seventh day of the quarantine, personnel of the PHO are mandated to take swab specimens from the CICL to be submitted to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center Sub-National Laboratory (VSMMC-SNL) for laboratory analysis.
“All expenses relative to the care of the CICL during the quarantine period will be shouldered by the CICL facility but shall be limited to his subsistence and other personal needs,” the EO read.
In case a CICL is found positive of coronavirus, “he shall be brought to the VSMMC or any other designated Covid-19 treatment facility where he will remain for proper management and treatment,” it added.
Garcia also ordered immediate containment and contact tracing to people who were in close contact with the coronavirus-afflicted CICL.
If the swab test result turns out to be negative and after completion of the 14-day quarantine period, the PHO will coordinate with the mayors and city or municipal health officers of the town or city where the CICL resides to facilitate his transport.
“The PHO shall issue a certification that the CICL has completed the 14-day quarantine,” the EO said.
As part of the protocol, the local government unit (LGU) is tasked to send a vehicle or ambulance to fetch the CICL from the facility and transport him/her back to their home town or city.
Upon arrival in the “LGU of residence”, the CICL will be turned over to the barangay where he resides.
The EO said the parents of the CICL, social worker handling his case, and the focal person of the village’s Gender and Development (GAD) officer will be notified.
It said that the return of the CICL to the community is subject to the protocol established by the LGU in the fight against Covid-19, which may include another 14-day quarantine period.
It ordered the LGU to issue another certification that the CICL has complied with its Covid-19 protocols.
“The release of the CICL should be conditioned upon his compliance with the 14-day quarantine requirement and such other protocols prescribed by the Province of Cebu and the CICL’s LGU of residence,” the EO also read.
Garcia met with the Family Court judges of the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-lapu as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Central Visayas to establish guidelines to be observed in the release of the minors.
The province has three facilities for CICLs – one in Tayud, Consolacion which is called “My Home”, the Women and Children Development Center (WCDC) in Lahug, Cebu City, and the Regional Rehabilitation Center for the Youth (RRCY) in Argao town.
DSWD-7 director Rebecca Geamala said 25 minors are due for release from the RRCY located in southern Cebu.
Leah Quintana, DSWD-7 information officer, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the said facility currently houses 116 minors. (PNA)