Local governments should let health officers play a principal role and take advantage of existing structures in their response to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to experts from De La Salle University (DLSU).

A new policy brief from the DLSU Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance urged local government units (LGUs) to come up with a “community response strategy” in the early stages of the outbreak.

“Few LGUs are prepared to deal with the magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic and the accompanying ECQ, and even fewer have contingency plans. With the pandemic still in its early stages and no clear end in sight, it is necessary for LGUs to come up with a Community Response Strategy in order to better address the challenges, maximize the use of resources, and harmonize and coordinate all efforts,” it said.

“To this end, setting up a working group to plan, devise strategies, and monitor the implementation of a Community Response Strategy for Covid-19 and the ECQ is necessary. This can be performed by the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) or the Crisis Management Committee (CMC), whichever is functional,” it added.

The institute advised LGUs that it would be more efficient to “reorient existing bodies towards Covid-19 management rather than create a new body.”

“A qualified Health Officer should play a principal role as this is primarily a Public Health issue. This is possible within the Incident Command System, a flexible management structure used in LGUs and the security sector,” it said. (PressONE.ph)