- MITCH M. LIPA
Bacolod bound travelers from Western Visayas and Negros Oriental will no longer be required to present a negative RT-PCR, the Bacolod Emergency Operations Center announced.
EOC executive director Em Ang said that only the “no vaccination, no ride” policy will be enforced for travelers within the region and from Negros Oriental. Bus passengers will be asked to present a permit to travel and should indicate that their final destination is Bacolod City, she added.
Ang said the Office of the City Mayor of Bacolod will inform the Office of the Governor of Negros Occidental on the decision of the Bacolod EOC to lift the requirement of negative RT-PCR for travelers from Western Visayas and Negros Oriental.
The EOC acted on the request of the business group to lift the negative RT-PCR requirement since Western Visayas and the Negros Island are all under Alert Level 3. The city government of Iloilo had earlier expressed approval of such proposal for intrazonal travel.
The Inter-Agency Task Force said intrazonal travel is the movement of people, goods and services between localities under the same community quarantine classification, or alert level, without transiting through an area placed under a different classification.
Ang said Mayor Evelio Leonardia had asked the City Legal Office to further study the coverage of the “no vaccination card, no ride” policy of the Department of Transportation in public transportation.
She said Leonardia wants to be clarified if the DOTr order is only for the National Capital Region, or if it can also be enforced in the region. The EOC also wants to know who will check the vaccination cards of jeepney passengers for authenticity.
Meanwhile, another batch of COVID positive swab samples with low threshold value will be sent to the Philippine Genome Center for sequencing. The EOC is awaiting the results of the first 35 samples sent to the PGC last month.
Bacolod recorded 57 fresh COVID cases Jan. 18, down from the 189 infections logged Jan. 17.| MML