BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
President Rodrigo Duterte last night approved the recommendation to place Bacolod City under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine to curb the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the city.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque told reporters Duterte approved a resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases recommending MECQ in Bacolod City from today until September 30.
COVID-19 Task Force chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr., on live television, told the president that the IATF, in consultation with Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, recommended the imposition of MECQ.
IATF co-chairperson, Secretary Karlo Nograles, approved Resolution 69-A yesterday placing Bacolod City under MECQ.
Galvez told the president Bacolod City that is currently under General Community Quarantine, has a higher number of COVID-19 cases compared to Iligan City that is now under MECQ.
“So we will recommend also that Bacolod City be placed on MECQ as recommended by the IATF,” he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque told the president that Bacolod City in four days had 462 COVID-19 cases, or an average 135 new cases per day, so his office supports the recommendation of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and retired Gen. Mel Feliciano to escalate its community quarantine to MECQ.
Galvez is set to arrive in Bacolod City tomorrow to meet with city officials.
There were 99 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths in Negros Occidental, and 58 new cases in Bacolod City as of yesterday, the Department of Health reported.
That brought Bacolod’s COVID-19 cases to 1,904 and Negros Occidental’s to 1,551 cases.
Leonardia said he did not expect the IATF resolution last night, he expected the top officials to discuss the MECQ with city officials tomorrow.
But we trust the IATF’s judgment, science and expertise in curbing the rise in COVID-19 cases in the city, Leonardia said.
The mayor said he is rushing the issuance of an executive order placing Bacolod City under MECQ.
During the recent Timeout Weekend mass testing for COVID-19 in Bacolod City, out of 4,384 residents swabbed, 531 tested positive for the virus, or 12.11 percent, the mayor said.
The city has already picked up the bulk of the 531, who have been placed in quarantine as of yesterday, Leonardia said.
The Timeout Weekend results have helped us pinpoint where the virus is prevalent, he said.
The mayor also said Bacolod City has a pending request for a moratorium on returning overseas Filipinos and locally stranded individuals so as not to overwhelm the city’s quarantine facilities.*