Mayor Evelio Leonardia is appealing to the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to issue a guideline to limit the number of passengers arriving in Bacolod City with the resumption of commercial fights and sea travel this month.
In a letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the NIATF, and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, co-chair of the NIATF, Leonardia has requested the task force to “issue a guideline that limits flights and ferry trips to a combined total of 600 passengers per week,” a press release from his office said.
The mayor also asked the task force to “instruct the airline and shipping companies to coordinate with us (City Mayor’s Office) and secure our permission at least two days before any scheduled flight or ferry trip.”
“(This) will enable us to determine if we will have available quarantine facilities for the returnees and prepare for their arrival,” the mayor explained.
“At least by this scheme, what is not an easy job will become less difficult to manage,” he added.
Leonardia said the resumption of commercial flights to the Bacolod-Silay Airport after July 12 is a welcome development, as it will animate anew the economy of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.
“From another light, however, we foresee a surge of LSIs (locally stranded individuals), OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), and ROFs (returning overseas Filipinos) returning to our city, not to mention the other categories of travelers. And this, if uncontrolled, will affect the capacity of our quarantine facilities to accommodate them as we strictly implement our health protocols,” the mayor added.
The letter of the mayor was also signed by Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Bacolod Quarantine Center Action Team.
The letter was also furnished Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, National Task Force COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., and National Task Force COVID-19 chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the press release said.*