NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, May 22 (PIA6) -- The local government of Bacolod City is seeking clarification with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in anticipation to the re-opening and resumption of sea and air travel on June 1 while the provincial government of Negros Occidental has set some protocols that will govern entry of all persons into the province.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia wrote Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade requesting for a video conference with him and Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson to get guidance from the DOTr on the said concerns.
Leonardia said Bacolod City, together with the province, has been implementing strict health protocols for people arriving either by sea or air including mandatory quarantine of at least 14 days and RT-PCR swab tests.
These have worked well in detecting positive cases among the arrivals and isolating them until they become negative of the virus, before they are allowed to finally go home, to contain cases of local transmissions, he said.
"However, we fear that these protocols will be imperiled by the sudden influx of arrivals into our city and province from the resumption of commercial sea and air travel, if done without regard to our capacity to accommodate them in our LGU-managed quarantine centers upon their arrival," the Leonardia added.
In his letter, he also appealed to Tugade that commercial sea and air travel should not be resumed in Bacolod City and Negros Occidental regardless of quarantine category by June 1.
Meanwhile, Governor Lacson wrote the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Maritime Industry Authority, the Philippine Ports Authority, and the Philippine Coast Guard establishing the set protocols for persons coming into the province.
The provincial government set the following protocols:
1) Number of incoming passengers shall be based on the available quarantine rooms determined by the Provincial Health Office;
2) All incoming passengers shall agree to stay at designated quarantine facilities until they are released based on their Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results;
3) With the fully operational Molecular Laboratory at Teresita Locsin Jalandoni Provincial Hospital (TLJPH), holding time of passengers shall be from one day to two days;
4) Tickets for airlines and sea vessels/roll-on roll-off (RORO)/ fastcraft shall be sold only to persons listed on the Certificate of Acceptance issued by the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental;
5) During the 1st phase of the new normal, priority shall be given to passengers who are returning Negrense residents and workforce of Essential Businesses who are allowed to operate during General Community Quarantine as per Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 30, series of 2020 and Provincial Executive Order No. 20-23, series of 2020.
Lacson added that the Certificates of Acceptance shall be single-use, date specific, and shall be granted once per month, except for emergency reasons.
Another protocol is in consideration of the need for a data tracking system and health monitoring of incoming passengers, the Provincial Health Office and the Negros Occidental Tourism Division will be requiring incoming passengers to fill up a Tourist Information and Health Declaration Card before leaving the airport/seaport terminal.
The filled out forms will be collected at the Tourist Information Counter and to be encoded by the Negros Occidental Tourism Office representatives.*(LTP/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental/Infographics by Bacolod City PIO)