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POPCOM launches tool to curb Covid-19 spread

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) Bicol office has introduced the Demographic Vulnerabilities Tool (DVT) to help local government units (LGUs) in curbing the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as cases continue to surge in the region.

Lourdes P. Nacionales, POPCOM Bicol regional director, said that the tool was designed to project the population and determine the barangays that are highly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

“Through this, the local chief executives can strategize their actions to contain the spread of Covid-19 in their localities. They can identify in the database those vulnerable barangays, which need special attention since the virus can spread easily in cramped places,” she said.

Nacionales said that 634 out of 3,471 barangays in Bicol are highly vulnerable; 1,646 are considered medium in vulnerability; 971 are under low risk category; and 220 are with no vulnerability.

She said that the level of vulnerability of a barangay depends on the underlying factors, which include the number of households measuring 20 square meters and below, the number of family members, the number of senior citizens living in an household with 20 square meters and below, and the number of senior citizens living alone.

If all of these factors or vulnerabilities are present in the barangay, they are considered highly vulnerable. Those with two vulnerabilities are considered under medium while low risk areas are those with one vulnerability, she added.

“We all know that senior citizens are highly at risk to this virus and it is really important to track them. We also encourage the local chief executives to focus on the highly dense barangays,” Nacionales said.

She added that the LGUs can access the database through its website and they can provide it to their barangay leaders. She said POPCOM is also willing to provide technical assistance in analyzing the data.

“We coordinated with the Department of Health (DOH), so the data of Covid-19 patients in the region as well as the suspect and probable cases are included in the database. We are also updating it every week. If they have [LGUs] already the database, they can update it with the real time data,” she said.

Nacionales said the LGUs can also check the destination of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) through the DVT.

POPCOM initiated the DVT since April this year and was updated for Covid-19 response. It can also be utilized for relief operations, she said. (PIA5/CEB/POPCOM Bicol)

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