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Mayor Babalcon launches gofer service to make life easier for Samar seniors, PWDs during lockdown

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The town of Paranas, Samar has developed a scheme that will help its elderly residents and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to get essential needs from the nearest city amid travel restrictions due to virus threat.

The town is only 30-minute away from Catbalogan City, the provincial capital, but with travel restrictions, non-residents of the city are barred to enter the capital except for medical emergencies.

Mayor Eunice Babalcon launched an errand service for those who want to buy basic goods in the city not available in the town.

The local government has identified Melanie Labine Quaycong as “purchaser” tasked to go to Catbalogan to buy the town resident’s needs.

“This service is already available in our local government even before the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) scare. We have been doing errands to provide medicines for our senior citizens,” Babalcon said in a phone interview.

With the problem of Covid-19, the town expanded the service to include buying milk for children and other essentials.

To avail of the service, the residents must go to their respective barangay (village) health worker and present their senior citizen booklets and identification cards, person with disability card, prescription, list of items to be purchased. The list and cash are handed to Quaycong who rides a local government vehicle to Catbalogan.

“When we started the service before, only a few people are availing of this, but this time, a lot have been benefiting of this service,” Babalcon said. However, she did not give any number as to how many of the residents benefit from the service.

Paranas was put under general community quarantine from March 24 to April 14 under Executive Order 26 suspending trips of public utility vehicles.

Also suspended is the operation of their flea markets while other business establishments in the town are only allowed to operate until 8 p.m.

On March 22, Catbalogan City was put under enhanced community quarantine restricting the entry and exit, hence, affecting the movement of the supply chain.

Paranas is a second-class town in Samar province with a population of 30,557 people. (PNA)