Bohol, Legazpi want to remain under ECQ
Bohol and Legazpi City in Albay are not ready to place their areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 1.
Bohol Governor Arthur Yap said they cannot downgrade to GCQ even if they don’t have virus cases or are considered as “low risk”.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise and mayors in Albay need 15 days to prepare the province for GCQ.
“It is easy to say that we are low risk but the LGUs should be given the flexibility and latitude in deciding on enforcing quarantine rules. We have to customize it because they cannot understand the situation on the ground,” Yap told a virtual Roundtable at Lido forum.
Yap said the province cannot afford to have local transmission as their health care facilities are limited.
“We do not have enough ventilators if we have to intubate someone. (We have) enough cardiac monitors or X-rays. It’s easy to say to open (our province) but once there is an infection, that would burden our healthcare capacity,” Yap said.
“So instead of helping the government, we can add to the problem,” he added.
Yap said he will also send a letter to Duterte to urge him to reconsider placing Bohol under general community quarantine.
Rosal said the Interagency Task Force in Albay will submit a letter to the national government they need 15 days to prepare the province for GCQ as the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in their area is still increasing.
“Actually the local task force and the Albay mayors have a resolution informing the national government that we are not yet ready… it’s not that we are against(GCQ) but we are not ready,” Rosal said.
“The situation here in Albay is different because our positive cases continue to increase,” he added.
Rosal said they still have 46 quarantined patients and 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including a barangay captain who was found positive last Tuesday. This caused them to implement a lockdown on that barangay.
“So it’s hard to risk because we might have the same fate with other countries… that’s why we had a meeting yesterday so we will submit a letter that was addressed to the President (Rodrigo Duterte),” he said.
Based on their record, thirty out of the 38 confirmed cases in Bicol Region are reported in Albay.
Rosal said the city is the center of trade and tourism in the Bicol Region that’s why they worry about the influx of tourists once the GCQ is implemented.
“The stand of people (is) they are worrying ( if GCQ will be implemented),” he said.
“But the usual plan is the social distancing, (wearing) of face masks. There should be an ordinance, give penalty if caught (violating) and the transport should be carefully studied,'' he said.
''(for) the offices, we will study on what should be opened. For the mall, restaurants should only do take-outs… other stores, they need proper social distancing when they sell… that’s why we need 15 more days to prepare Legazpi City (for GCQ),” he added.
Based on the revised list of areas that will remain under enhanced community quarantine from May 1 to 15, Albay, Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Catanduanes, Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Davao del Norte, and Davao de Oro was excluded and will be under GCQ by May 1.
Under a GCQ, areas that are considered “low risk” may open their malls and commercial centers, mass transport can also operate as long as they are observing social distancing. Ella Dionisio/DMS