Neg. Occ, Bacolod move for stricter border watch

Bacolod City streets are practically clear of vehicles and pedestrians on Sunday after total lockdown was enforced through an executive order issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia. (Bacolod PIO photos)

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental and this city are moving for stricter border watch as both the province and city continue to be free of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19.

No new COVID-19 case has been reported in both the province and the city as of April 20, 2020.

Dr. Grace Tan, spokesperson of the Inter Agency Task Force against COVID-19, said that all the COVID-19 patients in the city have recovered after their second swab tests were negative.

The city had seven COVID-19 cases, including a 62-year-old female who died in March.

Negros Occidental has a single COVID-19 patient, a 41-year-old female government employee who was given a clean bill of health and sent home before the Holy Week.
Bacolod City Rep. Greg Gasataya said “we need strict border control inspection of possible illegal entry through cargo and shipments including  barangay shorelines where even fishing  boats may dock.”

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson warned trucks and fishing vessels as well as fishing boats and motorboats that will try to bring in people from Cebu and Iloilo into the province.
Lacson said the vehicles, fishing boats/ fishing vessels of violators will be impounded while the drivers and crew will be arrested.

Negros Occidental police provincial director, P/ Col. Romeo Baleros, ordered all police chiefs in the province to implement strict border control measures and intercept all vehicles illegally transporting people into the province.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia signed Executive Order No. 31 during the weekend to regulate the entry and exit of persons/vehicles into the city using the Negros Occidental provincial car pass (PCP) amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The EO takes effect starting Wednesday April 22, 2020.

The EO pointed out that the holders of PCPs used them to freely come and go into Bacolod City, which could imperil the effectivity of its own ECQ and court the dangers of the COVID-19 contagion spreading out into the component cities and towns of the province considering that Bacolod City already has seven COVID-19 cases.
The order also said that the provincial government never meant that the PCPs it issued should be construed as entry permits into Bacolod City nor to substitute for or overrule the home quarantine passes (HQPs) and other valid passes issued by the Bacolod City government to its own constituents.

As a matter of courtesy to the provincial government, there is now the need to synchronize the use of these PCPs it issued and the passes issued by the Bacolod City government for more appropriate coordination for convenient mobility and movement of people under such purposes as intended for in said passes without prejudice for proper authorities like the police and its force multipliers to exercise their regulatory powers especially at the check-up points of Bacolod City.

The order said that the city government will allow only the holders of the HQPs and other CIPs validly issued by the city to be in city streets or at any open places for the purpose of obtaining provisions for food, medicines, and other essential commodities; and to continue providing basic public services to the city.

The PCPs are those quarantine car passes issued by the Negros Occidental provincial government for such purpose indicated in the pass but are not intended to supersede, overrule, substitute, or in whatever manner subordinate the HQPs or CIPs of the city.

In the strict sense, the PCPs should be valid in Bacolod City only for temporary passage or transit through the city, it said.

In order to respect the existing ECQ of Bacolod City, only vehicles with its plate number or conduction sticker number ending in odd or even digits, as allowed in a given day, will be permitted to enter or exit Bacolod City.

Cars with plate numbers ending in the odd numbers – 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 – will be permitted entry/exit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. only.

Cars with plate numbers ending in the even numbers – 2, 4  6  8  0 – will be permitted entry/exit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from.4 a.m. to 10 p.m. only.
No PCPs will be permitted to be used for entry into or exit from the city on Sundays. Social distancing should be observed inside the vehicle.