BACOLOD City Mayor Evelio Leonardia has appealed before the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to issue guidelines for stricter travel when commercial flights and sea travel resume within this month.
In his July 13, 2020 letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the NIATF, and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, co-chair of the NIATF, Leonardia requested the task force to “issue a guideline that limits flights and ferry trips to a combined total of 600 passengers per week.”
The mayor also asked the task force to “instruct the airline and shipping companies to coordinate with us (City Mayor’s Office) and secure our permission at least two days before any scheduled flight or ferry trip.”
“(This) will enable us to determine if we will have available quarantine facilities for the returnees and prepare for their arrival,” the mayor explained.
“At least by this scheme, what is not an easy job will become less difficult to manage,” he added.
Leonardia said the resumption of commercial flights to Bacolod-Silay Airport after July 12 is a welcome development, as it will animate anew the economy of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City.
“From another light, however, we foresee a surge of LSIs (locally stranded individuals), OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), and ROFs (returning overseas Filipinos) returning to our city, not to mention the other categories of travelers. And this, if uncontrolled, will affect the capacity of our Quarantine Facilities to accommodate them as we strictly implement our health protocols,” the mayor added.
Also signing the letter was Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Quarantine Center Action Team (QCAT).
The letter was furnished to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Spokesperson Herminio “Harry” Roque Jr., National Task Force Covid-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., and National Task Force Covid-19 chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
It was also furnished to Captain Jim Sydiongco, director-general of Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), Commodore Edgar Boado, regional commander of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)– Western Visaysas; Jose Venancio Vero, regional director of Maritime Industry Authority– Western Visayas; Juan Jovian Ingeiero, regional director of DILG-Western Visayas; Ma. Joy Maredith Madayag, city director of DILG-Bacolod; Engr. Percy Malonesio, area manager of Caap; and Lieutenant Commander Jansen Benjamin, station head of PCG-Bacolod. (PR)