BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The provincial government of Negros Occidental sought the help of retired Gen. Mel Feliciano, Visayas Inter-Agency Task Force Covid-19 chief implementer, to allow Capitol to perform its own protocols in subjecting travelers to RT-PCR testing, upon arrival in airport or seaports of the province.
At present, arriving travelers to Negros are only asked to avail of RT-PCR testing, free of charge.
As stipulated under IATF Resolution No. 101, Covid-19 testing upon arrival in airports and ports of LGUs is no longer mandatory, unless required by the LGU.
During a recent meeting with Feliciano, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said that travel ban and closure of ports and airports, is being discouraged. While it is good, Diaz said it must be coupled with the right of a province to screen or test everybody coming in.
“This is the only way to continue our economic affairs, without fear of sparking another epidemic wave,” Diaz said.
Covid-19 active cases in Negros Occidental were noted to have been going down from its peak of more than 2,400 last week, to 1,845 as of May 16.
Diaz said that Feliciano assured them that he will take it up with the National IATF.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson of Department of Health in Central Visayas, said during a zoom meeting that Cebu is already on a comeback trail, because they are giving RT-PCR tests for free. “To allow Negros Occidental to bounce back, allow us also to give RT-PCR tests for free to travelers, so that our economic recovery will continue,” Diaz said.*