Guimaras institutionalizes new normal protocols

ILOILO CITY—The provincial government of Guimaras legalized this week the health and safety protocols under the new normal.

Passengers ride a motorized boat from island province of Guimaras as they head to Iloilo City for work or errands. (Vincent Gefes / MANILA BULLETIN)

Governor Samuel Gumarin said the passage of the Ordinance No. 2020-04 institutionalizes the sense of responsibility among Guimarasnon to follow laws and protocols to stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The ordinance, introduced by Vice Governor John Edward Gando as well as Provincial Board Members Cyril Beltran and Josefina De La Cruz, prescribes the mandatory usage of face masks and the practice of physical distancing while instituting penalty fees for violators.

The ordinance also mandates the creation of posts to screen inbound travelers in all ports of entry. The island province is accessible mostly by motorized boats from Iloilo City, Iloilo province and Negros Occidental province.

The ordinance is very specific in requiring non-residents of Guimaras to fill-up Health Declaration Cards (HDCs), and failure to do so means the person would not be allowed into the province.  The issuance of inbound passes will also be required once the person goes to any of the five towns of Guiamras and must be surrendered when departing the province.

The provincial government will also issue work passes for non-residents, who work in government agencies or businesses in Guimaras.

During the height of the strict lockdown, Guimaras was the only area in Western Visayas region that had no COVID-19 cases. But when the lockdown was lifted, it gradually saw a number of positive COVID-19 cases. As of September 2, Guimaras has 31 active cases out of the 46 total cases recorded.