Hon. Rolen C. Paulino, Jr., Olongapo City Mayor, presided first City Task Force Against COVID-19 meeting for the year 2022 on January 7 at FMA Hall, City Hall Complex.

 The said meeting served as a venue to plan for the disease control strategies of the city, in response to the soaring COVID-19 transmission, early this year, due to the delta variant and prevention of the new omicron variant in the city, with consideration to the implementation of the Alert Level System.

In the report of Dr. Zero Mela of the City Health Department, it was shown that 84.87% of the city's population were already fully-vaccinated, while 96.83% already received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to Dr. Mela, the city is currently ramping up the inoculation of the populace, including the roll-outs of booster shots.

Few of the issues tackled during the meeting were the proper protocol in the handling and referral of COVID patients from the custody of the barangay to the city's isolation facilities and hospitals; strategies to augment lacking medical supplies in the barangays; travel guidelines for local tourists under the alert level system as discussed by LGOO III John Carlo Vergara; and regulation of the mobility of unvaccinated individuals in the city.

Mayor Paulino, along with City Councilor Lugie Lipomano-Garcia, said that the city council will be pushing for the enactment of a new ordinance, providing for an enhanced vaccination mandate of the city to regulate the mobility of unvaccinated individuals. Mayor Paulino also added that the said city ordinance shall likely stick to the guidelines provided under RIATF-RMCC Resolution No. 1, series of 2022, but will be considering few revisions.

The re-hiring of contact tracers was also brought up during the open forum. DILG-Olongapo City Director Amada T. Dumagat assured that the Department shall look into the re-hiring of contact tracers, as pronounced by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año during the Coordination Meeting with Region III in preparation for Omicron.

"Malaking bagay at importanteng-importante talaga na ang mga contact tracers ay ma-renew. Magandang balita po talaga iyon." Mayor Paulino said, as he acknowledged the relevance and importance of DILG contact tracers in the city's fight against the pandemic.