BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
About 12,000 Bacolod City residents have already signified their willingness to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019.
Dr. Rosalie Deocampo, contact tracing cluster head, who is in charge of the manpower for the Bacolod vaccination program, said in a radio interview that most of these residents are health workers and other frontliners.
Officials of the Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports Cultural Educational Association also met with Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the Emergency Operations Center Thursday to signify the willingness of private schools in Bacolod to be among the first sectors to undergo vaccination against Covid.
Ryan Mark Molina, executive vice president of STI West Negros University and president of NOPSSCEA, and Bro. Kenneth Martinez, president and chancellor of the University of St. La Salle, met with Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, and EOC executive director Em Ang and other officials at the Bacolod City Government Center.
Martinez said that through the vaccine, they aim to “restore vitality in their schools and ensure their viability during these challenging times.”
Martinez, supported by other leaders of private higher education institutions, submitted a position letter to Leonardia to include the private schools in the prioritization of the vaccines.
Molina said the management of the private schools expressed support and volunteered its facilities for government use in the implementation of the vaccination program.
Deocampo added that the city government targets to vaccinate at least 70 to 80 percent of the population of Bacolod, or more than 470,000 residents.
The Bacolod City government, through the EOC, will look into the appeal of the Negros Occidental provincial government for the implementation of uniform protocols for returning residents.
But Ang said no formal communication was received yet from the provincial government on the matter.
On Thursday, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz aired the concern of the Capitol over “the different protocols of Bacolod”, a highly urbanized city and not under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
Negros Occidental remains closed to tourists while Bacolod is open to visitors and non-essential travelers, subject to stringent requirements.
Both Bacolod City and Negros Occidental will remain under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine until Feb. 28, as announced by Malacañang yesterday.
Ang said the decision to allow non-essential travelers and tourists to the city was made so the business sector that has been greatly affected by the pandemic will be revitalized.
She said that all the protocols implemented in Bacolod are in accordance with the rules being implemented by the National Inter-Agency Task Force.
CURFEW, LIQUOR BAN
On the appeal of business groups to lift the curfew hours and partial liquor ban in Bacolod, particularly for 23 years old and above, Ang said they are open to that suggestion.
However, she said that in case the curfew and the partial liquor ban are lifted, the establishments should still abide by the proper health protocols.
Ang said the lifting of curfew and partial liquor ban will depend on Mayor Evelio Leonardia and the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Meanwhile, the results of those who underwent swab testing at the Bacolod Respiratory Outpatient Center as part of the ongoing surveillance testing are yet to be released.
Ang said about 500 individuals from different sectors have undergone the surveillance testing that started Monday. She said that those who survived the Covid infection also underwent testing to determine if they have developed anti-bodies against the disease.*