“Madamo gid nga salamat, Mr. President.”
Mayor Evelio Leonardia formally expressed his gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for Malacañang’s quick response to Bacolod’s plea for help at a time when the City experienced an upsurge in COVID-19 cases a couple of months ago.
“Please accept the grateful thanks of the people of our City for the immediate help you provided in our fight against COVID-19 when our positive cases suddenly spiked last August and September,” Leonardia said in his Nov. 3 letter to the President.
“The quick and decisive response from you, and from Senator Bong Go, in just a matter of hours after our appeal for help was emailed to your Office, went a long way in reassuring our people that, indeed, you ‘had our backs’ at a critical time in our fight against COVID-19,” the mayor added.
Leonardia had appealed for help from the President on August 26, and received a response in just a matter of hours, through Senator Go. The next day, Malacañang sent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, an official of the National IATF; Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino, IATF-Visayas deputy chief implementer Major Gen. (ret.) Melquiades “Mel” Feliciano, and DOH-7 regional director Jaime Bernadas to Bacolod.
Leonardia said the assessment visit of the Cabinet members and the team from DOH-Region 7 made that help from Malacañang “more real and immediate” when it resulted in the return on September 1 of Feliciano and his nurse-wife Mia and their team, who helped organize the Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for more focused anti-COVID protocols.
Leonardia called the team of Feliciano as “God-sent in answer to the prayers of Bacolodnons.” This team helped set up the systems at the EOC that included training the various clusters on how to hunt down the virus and helping those afflicted with it.
“From the selfless gift of their time and wisdom of experience, as they fought COVID-19 with us over the past two months, Major Gen. Mel Feliciano and his wife Mia and their team were instrumental in bringing down the COVID cases in Bacolod from its highest peak of triple-digit cases per day in mid-September to early-October to the present low 2-digit, or sometimes even single-digit, cases per day,” the mayor said.
In deep appreciation of their “committed service and tireless effort,” Leonardia declared MGen. Mel Feliciano and his wife Mia the first “Adopted Couple” of Bacolod City on Oct. 31, after two months of their overseeing the EOC daily huddles and operations. The title was the first ever to be conferred in the 82 years of Bacolod as a city.
“Only God knows how many lives they have helped to save with what they have done for us here,” the mayor added.
Leonardia added that it was also noteworthy to report to the President that the Emergency Operations Center that the Feliciano couple helped establish is now becoming a practical academy of sorts for other LGUs in the province who come to observe how we operate it so that they, too, may be guided on how to put up similar anti-COVID response organizations in their own LGUs.
“That is another legacy of MGen. Mel Feliciano and his wife Mia that we are deeply grateful for,” the mayor added.
Leonardia also underscored that “the visit of Secretary Carlito Galvez, chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and his team also made real to us your (the President’s) concern, and that of the National IATF, that the spread of COVID-19 in our community be curtailed as quickly as possible.”
The mayor also thanked Duterte for the medical personnel that were also deployed here by the Department of Health (DOH) and by the Philippine Army under Visayas Central Commander Gen. Robert Ancan.
He also thanked the President for the quarantine and isolation facilities built by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the additional test kits and PPEs (personal protective equipment); and stocks of Remdesivir brought by PAV Dino.