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Bacolod tightens border controls

Tighter border control measures were imposed by the Bacolod City government starting last night.

This was the consensus reached by Mayor Evelio Leonardia, the medical frontliners and executives of the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force, whom he called for a meeting via Zoom yesterday afternoon.

READINESS OF FACILITIES

Councilor Renecito Novero also presented updates on the state of city government-run quarantine and isolation facilities in anticipation of the post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases and possible Omicron transmission.

Novero, who met with members of his multi-agency committee on Monday, informed Leonardia that of the total number of LGU quarantine facilities, only Antonio L. Jayme Elementary School in Mansilingan and the Mariano G. Medalla Integrated School in Pahanocoy are currently occupied as of early this week.

Novero, chair of the SP Committee on Education, also informed the body of the willingness of DepEd school heads to allow their facilities for use in case of COVID uptick.

BORDER CONTROLS

EOC-TF Executive Director Em Legaspi-Ang led the discussions on stricter border controls.

 Ang pointed out that it will be mandatory for inbound passengers from Iloilo City, which is currently under Alert Level 3, to present a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) test result as contained in Executive Order No. 1 issued by Leonardia on Friday, January 7.

The rest of Western Visayas, including Bacolod City, remains under Alert Level 2.

But Ang emphasized that those coming in via roll on, roll off vessels from Dumangas that originated from the Caticlan Port in Aklan, will be swabbed by the City Health Office team as many of them might have come from Manila through the Batangas-Oriental Mindoro route.

Dr. Edwin Miraflor, Jr., CHO officer-in-charge, was tasked to field his swabbers at the ro-ro port in coordination with the monitoring team of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office immediately.

They were on duty until midnight last night, he said.

An S-PASS is also a mandatory requirement for passengers originating from areas with higher alert levels like Manila and Iloilo City.

PRE-EMPTIVE PURCHASE OF COVID MEDICINES

Other concerns taken up at the EOC-TF meeting were the availability of food supply to be served by the Department of Social Services and Development at the quarantine facilities, as well as the possibility of pre-emptive purchases of COVID medicines to ensure availability of supply in case there will be another surge.

Novero said that the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Health had previously allowed the allocation of Special Education Fund for the purpose.

Miraflor said pre-emptive purchases will guarantee the LGU of supply as the need arises.

But Leonardia said that before the city resorts to that option, it is best that the LGU first secure the opinion of the Commission on Audit.

He tasked Novero and Miraflor to draft the letter-inquiry related to medicine purchases after the CHO head disclosed that supplies of Remdesivir, Molnupiravir and other COVID drugs are running low in Metro Manila.*

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