Inter-Agency Task Force-Visayas chief implementer Melquiades Feliciano and wife, Mia, were honored by Mayor Evelio Leonardia as “adopted couple” of Bacolod City for “generously sharing their expertise and invaluable wisdom” in the local response to the coronavirus disease 2019 crisis.
Leonardia conferred the title on the Felicianos Saturday, the first-of-its-kind ever, as contained in Executive Order 69 he signed on Oct. 30.
Feliciano thanked Leonardia for the recognition during the testimonial dinner laid out by the city government for the couple at the Bacolod Government Center.
“The most important thing is the relationship that we have established. We will forever cherish this. We are now Bacolodnons,” Feliciano claimed in his response during the appreciation night.
The retired army general was joined by his team from the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process during the event, which capped the couple’s two-month stay in the city to help contain the local COVID-19 transmission.
Feliciano arrived in Bacolod on Aug. 27 with Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino after Leonardia sought assistance from Malacañang.
At that time, the team of Cimatu and Feliciano had just concluded a successful mission of bringing down the cases in Cebu, then considered as the epicenter of COVID-19 in the country.
Feliciano’s wife, a nurse with an extensive clinical background and patient care experience both in the Philippines and the United States, later joined him as consultant for the city.
Feliciano supervised the creation of the Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center, which initiated interventions that led to the continuing decline of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod.
“General Mel and wife, Mia, willingly took the responsibility to replicate in Bacolod City the successful strategy that their team employed in Cebu City during the outbreak there, by establishing the EOC, which coordinates a centralized COVID-19 response,” Leonardia’s EO 69, said.
The couple were supposed to stay in Bacolod only from Sept. 1 to 3, but “they decided to remain and continue advising, coaching, and guiding the EOC Task Force members until the EOC is competently and confidently standing on its own”, the EO further cited.
The mayor lauded the couple, saying the Felicianos “have exemplified the true spirit of altruism, commitment and dedication for the welfare of the Bacolodnons”.
“In appreciation of their sacrifices throughout these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 crisis in our city, and for their tireless service in keeping our city safe, and for all of the hours and hardwork they put in, the people of Bacolod would like to express their eternal gratitude to the Feliciano couple,” Leonardia further said.
On Nov. 1, Bacolod only had six new cases, among the lowest recorded in the past days.
Nine cases were reported on Oct. 31; Oct. 30, 25; Oct. 29, 10; Oct. 28, 11; and, Oct. 27, 1. – NLG