BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Evelio Leonardia has welcomed the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for an inbound travel ban to Western Visayas from April 4 to 10.
“I’m one with the unanimous decision of the governors and mayors of highly-urbanized cities in Western Visayas who asked for a moratorium,” he said in a video message on Tuesday.
On April 3, the IATF-EID approved Resolution 108, which includes the temporary suspension of inbound travels from the National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal; and the cities of Cebu and Davao, to Western Visayas until April 10 as endorsed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
The City of Bacolod itself sent a separate request for a 10-day travel ban starting April 4.
“Nevertheless, the reasoning is that we want to protect our citizens from what is happening. First, in Metro Manila and the entire Philippines, there is a high incidence of Covid-19. Even (vaccine czar) Secretary (Carlito) Galvez told us that once cases increase in Metro Manila, there is a natural tendency that cases in highly-urbanized cities will also increase,” Leonardia said.
Data showed that cases in Bacolod have multiplied four times — from a daily average of 4.42 cases recorded from March 7 to 20, to a daily average of 20.36 cases recorded from March 21 to April 3.
Leonardia assured residents of Bacolod affected by the travel ban that they will be assisted by the city government through the Office of Councilor Israel Salanga.
“We will give you your needs on a case-to-case basis,” he added.
In a local report, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive officer Frank Carbon, however, said that a travel moratorium, even for a limited number of days, will affect the movement of goods coming from the province and bring losses to local producers sending supplies to the Metro Manila market.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said that the Bacolod Government Center grounds — also called New Government Center (NGC), a popular leisure destination in the city, will remain closed amid the surge in local Covid-19 cases.
He noted that the area, which was closed for a week until April 4, will continue to be off-limits until further notice.
“In as much as we want to see people in the ‘NGC’ grounds every day, our situation now with 24 positive cases recorded in the Government Center, we are suspending its opening indefinitely,” he added.
On April 5, Bacolod logged 35 new cases, which increased the city’s active cases to 305, records of the Department of Health-Western Visayas showed. (PNA)