BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
A resolution has to be passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Bacolod before the management of malls and establishments can allow minors to enter their premises, especially during this holiday season.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical data analysis and assessment of the city’s Emergency Operations Center –Task Force, made the clarification Wednesday following complaints from several netizens regarding the influx of children below 15 years old in various establishments in Bacolod.
Sorongon said the sudden influx of minors in various establishments may have been caused by the announcement of Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año that minors may be allowed in these places, provided they are accompanied by their guardians or parents.
However, Sorongon said, the SP of Bacolod has not passed any resolution allowing the entry of minors into malls and other establishments, which means that they should be barred, even if they are accompanied by their guardians or parents.
In a virtual meeting recently with stakeholders attended by operators of malls and establishments, members of the local chapter of the Philippine Pediatric Society and other disease specialists emphasized their strong recommendation not to allow minors in malls and other crowded areas.
Sorongon said the PPS and disease specialists stressed that children are high-risk and can become carriers of the virus since they do not know how to follow minimum health protocols.
He said it is useless that the city government disallows the conduct of face-to-face classes in schools and yet will allow minors in malls, markets, and other establishments.
As to senior citizens, they are also not allowed to go out from their homes and go to malls and other establishments unless to obtain necessities or go to work in businesses allowed to operate under the Modified General Community Quarantine status of Bacolod, Sorongon said.
The EOC is set to post infographics in strategic locations in Bacolod on the barring of minors and senior citizens from malls and other establishments.
Meanwhile, the EOC has instructed the Bacolod City Permits and Licensing Office to check on business establishments that have no BaCTrac system.
City Administrator Em Ang, who is also the deputy chief of the EOC, said that if they happen to visit an establishment that does not use the tracking system, they should immediately call the attention of the management and ask them to register.
Ang said that, based on their monitoring, most of the major malls and other establishments in Bacolod are already registered in the BaCTrac system. As of Dec. 4, there were 7,509 establishments and 385,507 residents registered in the BacTrac system of Bacolod.*