By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – The Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) here and in Negros Occidental has been extended until April 30, 2020.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson announced this in separate press briefings on Wednesday following the issuance of their respective Executive Orders.
Leonardia said that they made such decision, following a series of discussions with the Bacolod Inter-agency Task Force against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and other concerned government agencies.
He said the extension of the ECQ is necessary for the city not to lose its current gains and momentum in terms of controlling the spread of the virus.
Based on the Executive Order, the City Health Office (CHO) reported that since COVID-testing began here, a total of 162 persons had been tested as of April 8.
Of the total figure, seven tested positive, with one fatality, 99 tested negative, while 56 are still waiting for the results from the bio-laboratories in Manila and Iloilo.
Leonardia said that the statistics show that the danger of local transmission is still a grave and present threat which cannot be underestimated.
“All the foregoing premises considered, the city cannot be complacent and must therefore continue to institute stringent measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19,” he added.
The ECQ in the city started on March 30 and was supposed to end on April 14. The local executive believed that “it is an utmost necessity to continue the ECQ.”
“We should learn from what had happened abroad and what is still happening in big countries today. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said.
He said that all the rules and regulations based on E.O. NO. 26 earlier issued for the declaration of ECQ shall prevail on the extension.
He asked for the continued support and cooperation of the people, by staying home, practicing social distancing, and wearing masks when going out in public places.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who is also the chairman of the task force, welcomed the mayor’s decision, saying that “we cannot sacrifice the health and safety of our constituents while waiting for the results of the 56 remaining swab samples.” He also said that 244 persons under monitoring (PUMs) are still being monitored.
Leonardia assured the people that the city is ready for an extended ECQ.
He said that the city will distribute the second tranche of food packs this week. However, beneficiaries of 4Ps can no longer avail of the food packs because they have already received their cash benefits from the national government.
The food packs which are supposedly intended for them will be given to those who need them more.
Last week, the city distributed food packs to 40,000 households.
In Negros Occidental, Lacson, in his Executive Order, said that as a disease prevention and control measure in limiting the transmission of COVID-19 in the province, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) has recommended the said extension.
“It’s still the same ECQ we are experiencing now,” he added.
Lacson said the validity of the ECQ passes earlier issued by the provincial government is deemed extended for two weeks.
“With this extension, I hope the strategy is correct and the number will go down,” he said, referring to the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) and persons under monitoring (PUMs).
Following the extension of the ECQ for two weeks, Lacson said the provincial government is planning to release 400 bags of rice per local government unit (LGU).
“I hope the National Food Authority (NFA) can still cover the third round of rice distribution to all the 31 LGUs in the province,” he said.
The provincial government has earlier allocated P30 million for precautionary and preventive measures against COVID-19. It also extended an additional P500,000 rice subsidy to 19 municipalities in the province.