League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) president and Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr. on Friday, Jan. 28, called for the stricter implementation of border control in the provinces due to the rapid surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Velasco, in a television interview over ABS-CBN, said that the influx of travelers from local government units (LGUs) under Alert Level 3 areas to LGUs under Alert Level 2 areas shall be immediately resolved by the government along with the low vaccination rate in Mindanao.
“Isa pong dapat talagang bigyan ng diin kung wala pong proteksiyon, lalo pong madaling mahawa. Pero ang mabigat ho nito ay ang mga galing sa Alert Level 3 na nagpupunta sa Alert Level 2 ay talagang dapat ho limitahin na din po doon sa LGU of origin (One thing that should be emphasized is if there are no protection, the person can easily catch the virus. But the bigger problem is people coming from Alert Level 3 areas and going to Alert Level 2 places should also be limited by the LGU of origin),’’ Velasco maintained.
Although the provinces under Alert Level 2 have imposed border restrictions, Velasco admitted that some people still get through even if they are supposed to be restricted in a particular area of destination.
“So dapat higpitan din ang mga pinanggagalingan ng mga carrier (So tighter restrictions should also be imposed in the areas where the carriers are coming from),’’ he added.
The LPP chief did not directly say that the COVID-19 surge is caused by the travelers coming to the provinces but he stressed that it is not far-fetched that the rapid rise of the virus could be attributed to the increase in the number of visitors.
Bothered by the COVID-19 spike in the provinces, Velasco noted that the LPP has proposed that the travels of people from the areas known as the epicenter of COVID-19 should be tightened.
Clarifying that the proposal is not absolute, Velasco stated that essential workers can gain access out of the provincial borders mentioning doctors, nurses and health workers as prime examples.
On Jan. 27, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said six more provinces namely Palawan, Camiguin, Davao Occidental, Dinagat Islands, Tawi-Tawi and Sulu were escalated to Alert Level 3 from Jan. 28 to Feb. 15.
Alert Level 3 prohibits contact sports, fun fairs, casinos and face-to-face classes except those previously allowed by the COVID-19 Task Force or the Office of the President.
It also limits to fully vaccinated individuals and decreases to 30 percent the indoor operating capacity of dine-in services, religious gatherings, fitness studios, personal care services and recreational venues.
The National Capital Region (NCR) and several other areas remain under Alert Level 3 until Jan. 31.