By Edwin Fernandez
COTABATO CITY: The Tacurong City government in Sultan Kudarat province has shut down the physical operation of its city hall and legislative building this week due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections, officials said Tuesday.
The lockdown began on June 7 and will last until June 13. Normal operations under strict compliance with health protocols will resume on June 14.
Vice Mayor Lino Montilla, now the city mayor after his brother Mayor Angelo Montilla died of Covid-19 on Sunday, said: “All business transactions with the city hall offices will momentarily be done online.”
Allan Freno, city information chief, said five other city employees also tested positive for the virus.
“The seven-day lockdown of the city hall building and the Sangguniang Panlungsod building will pave the way for disinfection and decontamination,” Freno said.
The late mayor, 62, complained of difficulty in breathing last week and was rushed to a hospital in Gen. Santos City. He passed away on June 6.
In a statement, the city government said residents are now mourning the untimely demise of the mayor who, despite the threat of infections while performing his official duties, continued to reach out to his constituents in various functions.
It said the temporary closure of the office will serve as a “circuit breaker” to strategically contain the spread or transmission of the virus among employees and the transacting public.
Freno said although not physically present at the buildings, the employees will operate under the “alternative work arrangements” set by the Civil Service Commission.
Meanwhile, members and officials of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) extended condolences to the Montilla family.
Before his death, Montilla sat as representative of the Soccsksargen Region to the LCP.
Freno said the late mayor was easily trusted to give voice to the local chief executives in the region at the national level.
“Our LCP community had always held the Montilla brand of public service in high esteem,” said Mayor Evelio ‘Bing’ Leonardia of Bacolod City and the national LCP president.
At present, the Philippine flag flies at half-mast in front of Tacurong City Hall as well as other offices in the city to grieve the passing of its mayor.
Philippine News Agency