BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia last night issued Executive Order No. 27, series of 2021, suspending travel between Bacolod City and Iloilo City, with the latter declaring a travel moratorium, effective today until May 31, while it is under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.
“Any mode of travel between Bacolod City and Iloilo City shall be suspended from 12 a.m. of May 25 until 11:59 p.m. of May 31, or may earlier be lifted or further extended, while Iloilo City is placed under MECQ, except for the delivery of essential goods which shall remain unhampered, subject to the health and safety protocols covered by the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines with Amendments, as of May 20, 2021,” Leonardia said.
The Philippine Coast Guard, with the assistance of the local police, are directed to assist the city government in enforcing this EO for health and safety measures and protocols in promoting the general welfare of Bacolod City residents, he added.
The fight of Bacolod City against Covid-19, especially based on experiential facts and empirical data in its locality and at its neighboring local government units, is a call for self-reliance in its partnership with the national government and with its fellow LGUs, the EO said.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said he supports the temporarily suspension of inbound and outbound sea travel between Negros Island and Iloilo City.
“They feel that it is one way of stopping the surge in Iloilo City. Let’s be part of the solution because, someday, we may need something from Iloilo City,” Lacson said.
Capt. Ludovico Librilla, Coast Guard Station Negros Occidental commander, said the suspension was in compliance with the EO issued by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, placing Iloilo City under the MECQ status until May 31, following its approval by the National Inter-Agency Task Force.
In the EO he issued, Treñas stressed that the unimpeded movement of cargoes in and out of Iloilo City and Negros Island will be guaranteed, and the moratorium is only for passengers.
Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor also issued an executive order earlier suspending the operations of tourism, recreation and accommodation establishments in the province, due to the surge of Covid active cases.
Frank Carbon, operations and financial consultant of Weesam Express, said yesterday that they will comply with the order to halt fastcraft operations, unless advised otherwise.
As to the approval of the NIATF to place Iloilo City under MECQ while denying the earlier request of Negros Occidental to be under the General Community Quarantine status, Lacson said, “I guess, maybe because of the noise made by Mayor Treñas, he got the attention of IATF.”
Lacson also noted that Covid actives cases in Negros Occidental are going down. As of May 23, Negros Occidental was categorized as Covid-19 “low-risk” area, while the highly-urbanized Bacolod City is under the “moderate risk” classification, the Department of Health-Western Visayas said.*