BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The provincial government of Negros Occidental is not lowering its vigilance against the Covid-19 pandemic with the resumption of flights between Cebu and Bacolod, and Bacolod and Manila.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the provincial government will continue to implement stricter travel protocols for those coming to Negros Occidental.
Negros Occidental and Bacolod City are under Modified General Community Quarantine until Dec. 31.
Lacson said the extension of MGCQ is a continued deterrent against Covid-19, but admitted that coronavirus cases “have been on the rise in the province”.
In the executive order he issued extending the MGCQ in Negros Occidental until Dec. 31, Lacson also approved the resumption of sea travel, but shipping companies are only allowed to ferry 150 passengers a day per trip.
The Philippine Coast Guard also monitors an increase in the number of passengers leaving and entering Bredco Port in Bacolod City because of the holiday season and the lifting of travel restrictions.
Commander Ludovico Librilla, PCG-Negros Occidental station chief, said they expect more ship passengers in the next several weeks.
Fastcraft operators plying the Bacolod-Iloilo City route already signified their intention to add more trips this month, sharing the observation of Coast Guard on the increasing number of passengers.
Jose Venancio Vero, regional director of the Maritime Industry Authority, said they will meet with the operators and representatives of the Philippine Ports Authority and the PCG to discuss the health protocols that will be implemented. Vero said operators should ensure that the crew regularly disinfect their vessels.*