BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The provincial government of Negros Occidental has issued an appeal to the Bacolod City government for common protocols for returning residents.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz aired the concern of the provincial government on the “different protocols” of Bacolod that is not under the jurisdiction of the province, being a highly urbanized city.
“We have been calling out that our protocols should be uniform,” he added. “While we want to create a Negros Occidental bubble, how can we do that if one local government unit does not follow the same protocol?”
“We will have a gaping hole in the middle of Negros,” Diaz said.
Bacolod is open to non-essential travel or those for leisure, vacation, and others, provided that tourists comply with the requirements specified in Executive Order 1, series of 2021, or an order establishing the consolidated guidelines for travel into the city, issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia recently.
One requirement is a negative RT-PCR result with the test taken within three days before the date of travel to Bacolod.
Negros Occidental, meanwhile, will remain closed to tourists, as announced by Diaz earlier.
Bacolod City had 127 active Covid cases, as of Jan. 27, compared to the 115 of Negros Occidental, that is composed of 31 towns and cities, as of Jan. 26.
Meanwhile, Diaz said that the provincial government will continue testing all passengers entering Negros Occidental by air and sea.
As to the request of airline companies to have daily flights to and from Negros Occidental, instead of their current twice a week schedule, Diaz said that if they can prove that their screening procedure in Manila is effective and no incoming passengers test positive upon arrival in the next few weeks, they will recommend the removal of swab booths in the airport and seaports.
Diaz said he noted that there are still passengers who test negative in Manila but yield positive result upon arrival at the Bacolod-Silay airport. “We cannot let our guard down,” he said, adding, “We owe it to the Negrenses to keep them safe.”*