BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The Bacolod City government is at a loss over the position of Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, who requires the mandatory presentation of an S-PaSS by Bacolod-bound passengers traveling via the Bacolod-Silay International Airport.
Executive Director Em Legaspi-Ang of the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force, speaking on behalf of Mayor Leonardia, dismissed claims made by Diaz, who argued that the non-requirement of the S-PaSS, as stipulated in EO 53, is illegal.
She added Diaz’s move is a clear disrespect of Executive Order 53 issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia last November 14 after the National Inter-Agency Task Force downgraded Bacolod’s alert status from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 2 since COVID cases in the LGU had been on a steady decline.
According to her, EO 53 also no longer requires an S-PaSS for fully-vaccinated city-bound passengers traveling by air, land or sea if their final destination is Bacolod.
“Our EO 53 would not have been concurred by Regional IATF chief and Regional Director Jovian Ingeniero if it were not in conformity with the NIATF policy,” Ang pointed out.
Mayor Leonardia’s EO 53, she further reiterated, was issued in conformity and compliance with the Guideline on the Implementation of Alert Levels System for COVID-19 Response in Pilot Areas as of Oct. 13 issued by the National IATF.
The requirement of the S-PaSS in the interzonal and intrazonal travel is not covered in the guidelines, she pointed out.
She also lamented that Diaz apparently forgot the autonomy of Bacolod as a highly-urbanized city yet “he treats us like we are a component city of the province and well within his political jurisdiction.”
The key here is respect, Ang stressed.
Many returning Bacolodnons and Bacolod-bound passengers in Manila cried foul at the NAIA after airlines disallowed them from boarding their supposed flight, saying they are just complying with the Capitol policy as ordered by Diaz.
Such move by Diaz may be tantamount to economic sabotage, bullying or harassment, an irate businessman who requested anonymity said.
“(Atty.) Diaz is not only confusing Bacolodnons. He stirred confusion and hurt a lot of families who had been longing to see their relatives come home,” a netizen posted on her FB account.
Clearly, Ang emphasized, there are people who are inconvenienced.
A netizen, Ces Jo, posted on her FB account the experience encountered by her Bacolod-bound aunt who was held by Cebu Pacific for failure to present an S-PaSS.
In her message to Ang, she said: “Mam good morning, I would like to ask your assistance. My aunt is still on hold at Manila airport due to they still requiring SPASS. Her flight is 9:20am today. I talked to Cebu pacific staff. She told me that they didn’t receive EO details of this matter. Thank you very much!”
“Sad to say…my aunt rebooked her ticket and another money was spent on this,” Ces Jo further told Ang.*