BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Mayor Evelio Leonardia is “firmly and vigorously” requesting the National Inter-Agency Task Force to reconsider its recommendation to escalate the risk classification of Bacolod City, from the General Community Quarantine to the stricter Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.
He said the IATF should instead retain the GCQ status of Bacolod until July 31.
“We cannot afford to add more restrictions that will extend the freeze on our economic recovery,” Leonardia said as he appealed for a halt to the escalation of the city’s restriction status.
Leonardia said he received information that Bacolod is being recommended to be placed under the MECQ starting July 16 by the National IATF due to the current Covid situation in the city.
But he said the city is appealing against the escalation of the quarantine status.
“It is not debatable that many Bacolodnons have already lost their jobs and businesses because of the prolonged community quarantine,” he added.
A message sent by Department of Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Francisco Cruz to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said the agency is recommending to upgrade the status of the province and Iloilo to ECQ from MECQ, considering the rise of Covid cases in these areas.
In the same message, Cruz said Bacolod, Aklan, Antique, and Capiz might also be placed under the MECQ while Negros Occidental will retain its GCQ status until the end of this month.
Leonardia, in a letter-appeal sent to DILG Region 6 acting director, Juan Joviano Ingeniero, said he is seeking for a reconsideration to retain the GCQ status of Bacolod until the end of the month.
Leonardia emphasized that the city government continues its tireless efforts to contain the virus, through the strict implementation of protocols, expansion of testing, intensification of contact tracing, strict boarder controls, restriction on mass gatherings, curfew and liquor bans, and alternative work arrangements, among others.
These measures have resulted in the reduction of cases to 42 percent in the last two weeks, adding that the city has also expanded its healthcare facilities by adding more beds for Covid patients and hiring more medical workers, Leonardia said.
The healthcare capacity utilization rate of Bacolod hospitals was at 64 percent only and half of it was occupied by residents of the City since other patients came from towns and cities in Negros Occidental, Emergency Operations Center record showed.
As of July 13, there were 1,435 active Covid cases in Bacolod out of the 14,110 accumulated cases with 12,343 recoveries or about 87.47 percent that correlated to the good management and treatment of the disease, the EOC records added.
Leonardia noted that in the past two weeks, there was a significant decrease of Covid average daily attack rate, at 10.18 percent from 17.49 percent three to four weeks ago.
Leonardia said they hope and pray that the national officials will listen to their plea, especially the NIATF, as it would mean sparing Bacolodnons from inconvenience and deter other undesired effects on the city’s economy.*