BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The League of Provinces of the Philippines will make an appeal on Resolution 101 issued by the National Inter-Agency Task Force, that states that testing should not be mandatory for travelers, except when the local government unit area of destination will require it before arrival, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday.
Lacson admitted that he finds the resolution “very contradictory” as it also states that LGUs can actually impose RT-PCR tests before travel.
“We will continue to maintain our protocols. When they arrive, we will test them, and place them on quarantine. We’re hoping that Negrenses will cooperate,” he added.
Members of the Western Visayas IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases are united in their decision to hold in abeyance the implementation of Resolution 101 of the national IATF, that sets uniform nationwide protocols for land, air, and sea travel, pending clarifications, DILG 6 regional director Jovian Engeniero said.
Before the issuance of the NIATF resolution, the provincial government of Negros Occidental requires all arriving locally stranded individuals to undergo reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, or swab testing, either at the Bacolod-Silay Airport or Bredco Port in Bacolod City, to ensure that they are free from the coronavirus disease 2019.
“Somehow, we have been able to control it already for a couple of months, in the absence of local transmission,” Lacson said. He attributed the recent increase of 21 active cases in the province to persons coming outside of Negros Occidental.
LSIs and some APORs are adding to the number of active cases, he added.
If travelers will insist on not taking RT-PCR tests, citing the NIATF resolution, Lacson said “I can also pass an EO (executive order) for them to take the test, prior to their arrival,” and the province can even save money.
The province shoulders the swab-upon-arrival test on LSIs.
But Lacson said he prefers the provincial government to do the swabbing to ensure the legitimacy of its results, citing a case in Boracay where the RT-PCR results had been faked.
As to allowing the entry of tourists from outside the province, Lacson said he may call tourism stakeholders to a meeting, if they are ready for it. “But as it is right now, we are only encouraging local tourists,” he added.*