USAID-SURGE holds COVID-19 virtual session on area-focused mitigation and response strategies


The thrust of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project is to actively support local economic recovery efforts in secondary cities through partnerships with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector.

In line with this advocacy, USAID-SURGE organized a series of virtual learning sessions in partnership with Publicus Asia and the  Association of Political Consultants In Asia (APCA) with the theme, “Rising to the COVID19 Leadership Challenge: Area Focused Mitigation and Response Strategies”.

The session intends to address and discuss the need of LGUs to obtain fast and reliable information on COVID-19 responses and interventions for urgent decision-making.

Mayors Oscar Moreno, Cagayan de Oro City; Ronnel Rivera, General Santos City; Vico Sotto, Pasig City; and Rexlon Gatchalian, Valenzuela City presented the collaborative efforts spearheaded by their respective LGUs directed at area-focused mitigation and response during a virtual session held on June 18, 2020.

“The most important thing is how you can connect to your constituents through health, communication, social amelioration programs, and the like”, said Mayor Moreno, in his presentation on Cagayan de Oro’s key takeaways during this pandemic. He stressed that this crisis taught them the value of teamwork. Teamwork made it possible for them to contain the affected area. 

On the other hand, Mayor Rivera of General Santos shared that close monitoring of Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) and Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) at community level was strengthened through Barangay Health and Emergency Response and Barangay COVID Control Force.

Mayor Rivera presenting the COVID-19 Mitigation and Response Strategies enacted by LGU General Santos.

“COVID-19 also enforced the philosophy that community-based approach is one of the best options against COVID-19. We need to invest in pharmaceutical intervention so that people can have a better understanding of their role and responsibility in the new normal”, Rivera added.

“It is not the crisis itself that will define us but how we respond to this crisis”, said Mayor Sotto. In Pasig, they have learned that it is important to communicate effectively and efficiently with the people. Through this approach, Sotto shared that they were able to implement their policies more effectively.

“Being able to track down who needs help the most is probably the No. 1 thing on the agenda in a pandemic - who to feed first; who to get the relief first; that’s the most important thing”, Mayor Gatchalian stressed.

On the situation in Valenzuela, he believes that the pandemic is a wake-up call for both local and national government to develop a systematic effort and initiative to migrate and strengthen the use of digital platform.

Meanwhile, guest speakers from Mississauga City, Canada, namely: Gary Kent, Chief Financial Officer and Tim Beckett, Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management presented their city’s actions against COVID-19.

Opening his presentation, Kent highlighted that “public health was the first priority". He also discussed their financial recovery principles. Kent stressed the following lessons learned during this pandemic: a) recognizing the most vulnerable sectors; b) collaboration is present and innovation is important; and c) the need for help because cities cannot deal economically with the pandemic through the use of their own resources.

For his part, Beckett explained that we need to be on top of it early, start early, and address the situation. He also advised that one must establish strong supply chains early, create strong internal communications, and facilitate connections among various sectors, among others.

A dynamic discussion through an open forum followed.


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SFFAII.COM: USAID-SURGE holds COVID-19 virtual session on area-focused mitigation and response strategies
USAID-SURGE holds COVID-19 virtual session on area-focused mitigation and response strategies
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