What initially started out as a casual thought shared among friends over coffee has now prospered into a task force that aims to alleviate the plight of fellow Butuanons who are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Task Force COVID Bougainvilla, founded by five Butuanons from Brgy. J. P. Rizal, has been helping out the marginalized across Butuan City, providing food augmentation and housing to residents whose livelihoods have been greatly compromised due to the pandemic.
According to one of its founders, Joey Abrenilla, they started out with distributing food packs to 200 families and individuals from their neighborhood during the onset of heightened community quarantine implementation.
To date, the task force has helped 4,500 beneficiaries in 25 barangays and provided housing and free remodeling to 16 beneficiaries.
With the 26 percent COVID-19 positivity rate in Butuan City, OIC-Asst. Regional Director of DOH Caraga Dr. Gerna Manatad elaborated that while such a figure is a gauge of the continuous rise of cases in the city, it is also an indicator of the city's faster response in terms of conducting testing and contact tracing.
The health official then emphasized the need for the zonal lockdown for an even more efficient detection and containment of the disease not just in the city but also in the entire Caraga.
In addition to the initiatives of the city government of Butuan to combat the spread of COVID-19, City Mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada urged the public to lend the full cooperation to their local government and local health authorities and religiously abide health protocols.
He reminded them to not take the pandemic "lightly" and underscored the impact of the public doing their part to instill discipline among themselves and their fellow residents.
"This health crisis requires a community-wide effort. The government cannot put an end to this crisis alone. I am urging you to do your part," the mayor added.