Espinoza: A joint order is necessary

Elias Espinoza

Free Zone

WHICH order? During abnormal times such as now, everyone is asked to do their share to observe and comply with government rules and regulations, particularly the Department of Health (DOH) on sanitation and hygiene and physical distancing. I believe most of us have obeyed these rules.

The problem, however, is that some local government units have different rules and regulations on the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), resulting to confusion.

The National Government issued a directive that the transport of supplies, like food, farm products and goods, shall not be hampered. But in Luzon and some provinces in the Visayas, several LGUs have prevented the delivery of the food and farm products to the chagrin of the farmers and traders.

In Cebu, the previous executive orders of the cities and the Province were not synchronized, confusing not only residents, employers, workers who live in different places, but also the police who implemented the closure of the borders.

Thus, on Monday, to salvage the situation, Cebu City Mayor Edgar C. Labella, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas C. Cortes and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan signed a joint executive order allowing workers and employees to cross borders to work in their respective work places in any of these cities without the ECQ pass. Some, if not most of those who work in Cebu City are residents or live in Lapu-Lapu City or Mandaue City and vice versa.

However, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia insisted that her executive order to close the borders of Cebu City should be enforced in Mandaue City, being a component city of the province. Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City are independent cities.

While everyone agreed that an ECQ a.k.a. lockdown is one way to prevent the spread, we are not yet in total lockdown such that several necessary establishments, like hospitals, clinics, supermarkets, pharmacies, wet markets, food chains, gas stations, etc., are open and allowed to operate and their workers and employees have to report for work.

There is no argument that Mandaue City is still a component city of the province even if the law creating the city as a highly urbanized city and lone congressional district was already approved by Congress. It was Mayor Cortes who authored the law when he was then congressman.

Mandaue City is in a vital location between Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City such that any agreement, like allowing the workers to cross borders without the need of an ECQ pass, between Lapu-Lapu City and Cebu City would be nada without the participation of Mandaue City.

Now that the governor is adamant to enforce her executive order closing the border of Cebu City to its component cities and towns, so, which executive order should the police follow and enforce in the case of Mandaue City? Can’t the governor soften her stand in closing the border of Mandaue City to Cebu City? Can’t the chief executives come up with a unified order to prevent confusion and isolation of workers?

It’s a shame to note that in these trying times, executive orders conflict with each other instead of being harmonized. No offense meant to our neighbor Bohol, the situation here could be likened to the joke “Ija-ja, aho-aho” of the Boholanos.


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