BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Inbound Bacolod travelers from Manila will no longer be required to present a negative RT-PCR test result upon arrival at the Bacolod-Silay Airport beginning February 1, 2022.
This was the agreement reached between Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson in a virtual meeting via Zoom that was also attended by other town and city mayors, members of the Provincial Incident Management Team under Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz and Bacolod’s Emergency Operations Center led by Executive Director and former Councilor Em Legaspi-Ang.
Ang presented the city government’s proposal in brief.
Leonardia was joined, among others, by Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Cindy Tan-Rojas, Renecito Novero and Israel Salanga, EOC deputy Dr. Chris Sorongon and Dr. Edwin Miraflor, Jr., officer-in-charge of the City Health Office.
Leonardia thanked Lacson for hearing out and acting favorably on Bacolod’s request to lift the negative RT-PCR requirement and instead present a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken and certified only by an accredited Department of Health clinic or laboratory within 48 hours prior to their flight schedule for Bacolod.
Lacson said he just wants to be assured that RAT results are done and certified by a DOH-accredited lab because anyone can make a self-test once they have the kit.
La Carlota City Mayor Rex Jalandoon, a doctor by profession, assured those in attendance that a RAT result has a very high accuracy rate and, therefore, reliable, as alternative to the RT-PCR.
Nevertheless, Lacson said that when there is any doubt as to the authenticity of the RAT result presented by Bacolod passengers, the provincial government is willing to conduct a new test at the airport even at the expense of the Capitol.
Leonardia wrote Lacson early this week in a bid to harmonize the city and Capitol’s guidelines to ensure safe, easy and convenient travel for Bacolod. Negros Occidental and the rest of Western Visayas as well as Negros Oriental are currently under Alert Level 3.*