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Duterte deploys Cimatu to address COVID-19 spread in Cebu City

President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to go to Cebu to address the continued alarming increase of COVID-19 cases in the city.

Duterte said Cimatu would be an "adjunct" official of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to identify what needs to be done in Cebu. 

"I am just sad that Cebu has to undergo that kind of painful situation now but nonetheless kaya natin 'yan," Duterte said in a televised briefing on Monday night.

"And I am sure Cimatu he cannot solve the problem on his own he has just to make recommendations and let us know what we should be doing," he added. 

Cimatu welcomed his new role.

“I fully accept the challenge you gave for Cebu,” Cimatu told Duterte.

“Just like the orders you gave to me before to Boracay and we changed the image of Boracay into what it is now,” he added, referring to the monthslong cleanup of one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions in 2018.

Malacañang earlier said it wanted to appoint a Visayas Deputy Implementer and establish a National Task Force Emergency Operation Center in the region amid the uptick in infections recorded there.

Cebu City has the highest number of COVID-19 cases nationwide at 3,733 as of June 21, while Central Visayas has the second-highest number of infections among all regions with 5,667, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

In the last 14 days alone, the DOH logged 1,277 new cases in Cebu City and 2,030 in the entire Region VII.

The DOH also earlier identified 13 new clusters of infection in Cebu City.

“‘Yung mga taga-Cebu... bakit marami [cases]? Because you were too confident and too complacent about it,” Duterte said. -NB, GMA News