By Glazyl Masculino
BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has allowed the entry of all locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from Cebu, but only if they would arriving here through the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)-Danao port in Escalante City.
This was stated in an executive order signed by Lacson last Monday, June 15, extending the duration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MGCQ) in the entire province until June 30.
Lacson stated in the EO that the entry of Negrense LSIs from the island of Cebu shall only be allowed at the government port.
He, however, said that the number of returning LSIs allowed to enter the province shall be based on the admission capacity of the provincial isolation facility for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Cadiz City.
Passengers arriving from Cebu will be required to submit themselves to a mandatory real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, and shall undergo mandatory government quarantine at the designated isolation facility in the city of Cadiz until their RT-PCR test result comes out negative, the EO said.
Lacson, in a media briefing at the Provincial Capitol on Tuesday, said that they needed the cooperation of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), PPA, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in enforcing this protocol.
“We are in this fight together,” he said, adding that they have already simplified the process to make it easier for Marina, PPA and PCG to control the entry of these individuals.
Lacson said that they have to be more strict, stressing that it was too dangerous now to be accepting LSIs from Cebu, considering the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases there.
Lacson also noted that Cebu City was again placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting June 16.
He said that limiting the entry of LSIs to one port would help them control the situation, than to have the other option which will be to refuse their entry here.
“Kawawa naman, we want to accept them back here,” he added.
The governor said that they will not accept any other LSIs from the oriental side. He also directed Marina, PPA, and PCG not to allow any passenger to take a vessel that will dock in another port.
“If we follow these rules, we would be able to manage it well,” he said, adding that the repatriation of Negrense LSIs from Cebu via sea trip may continue.
He also said that they have chosen the Danao port as entry point for LSIs from Cebu because it was near the quarantine facility in Cadiz City. “It is more practical,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lacson said that they have yet to start receiving more flights from other areas. “It’s not just about bringing them in, we have to manage them when they come here in Negros,” he added.
On the other hand, the EO also said that all LSIs from Manila, who will be arriving in the province, will required to pass through thermal scanners at the airport and seaport and submit their swab samples for RT-PCR testing.
The returning Negrense LSI shall be picked up by the local government unit (LGU) where he or she resides, and the LGU shall have the option to bring the LSI to their quarantine facility or subject him or her to a strict home quarantine until his or her RT-PCR test result comes out negative, as stated in the EO.
For LSIs from Iloilo, they are also required to undergo the same protocols at the seaport upon their arrival in the province, based on the EO. The returning LSIs shall undergo a strict home quarantine until his or her RT-PCR test result comes out negative, the EO said.