COTABATO CITY – The province of North Cotabato remains under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status but stricter border control measures will be implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“No required travel authority, medical certificate, quick response (QR) codes, and negative swab test results,” Dr. Philbert Malaluan, North Cotabato Board member and Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) spokesperson, said in an interview on Wednesday.
However, the province will impose stricter border control on the surrounding provinces of Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Bukidnon, Malaluan said.
He said both private and public transport vehicles would be checked for adherence to minimum health protocols.
“Those violating the procedures, such as no physical distancing and non-wearing of face shields and face masks, would not be allowed entry,” he said.
Malaluan said this was the agreement during the meeting presided over by IATF chair, North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, at the Provincial Capitol on Tuesday.
“The salient features of what was approved during the meeting in Kidapawan, attended by town mayors, local officials, and health front-liners, will be implemented once approved by the national IATF,” he said.
In a separate interview, Catamco said the new stringent border control would include the restoration of the no-travel policy for senior citizens and minors coming in and going out of the province.
“They will not be allowed to enter or travel outside the province,” Catamco said, adding that the particular policy was “relaxed” following the decrease in Covid-19 cases in the province in the past months.
She said it was agreed that city, municipal, and barangay officials would closely monitor all activities related to the prevention of the spread of Covid-19, referring to a possible surge in infections in communities.
Local chief executives have also agreed to strengthen the ordinances for breaches of minimum health protocols, including fines and/or imprisonment, she added.
Catamco, meanwhile, appealed to the public to refrain from spreading fake and unverified information about the status of Covid-19 health protocols in the province.
Based on the latest Covid-19 monitoring tracker report by the Department of Health 12 (Soccsksargen), North Cotabato has 119 active cases. (PNA)