Negros-Iloilo travel ban lifted


The Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Western Visayas issued an advisory on May 30, lifting the temporary suspension of travel from Iloilo and Negros Occidental, including Bacolod City, and vice versa, starting June 1.

The advisory was signed by Juan Jovian Ingeniero, regional director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government 6, and co-signed by director Jose Nuñez of the Office of the Civil Defense 6.

The advisory from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force lifting the Negros-Iloilo travel ban effective June 1

It advised travelers to observe minimum health standards and coordinate with their local government units for travel requirements before their trips.

Operators of fast crafts plying the Iloilo-Bacolod-Iloilo route welcomed the development, and advised their employees of the resumption of operations on Tuesday.

Frank Carbon of Weesam Express said the affected workers had enough break, and are eager to go back to work to earn a living. The people indirectly involved in the operation of the port can also earn a living, from porters, taxi drivers, and vendors, he added.

Most of the fastcraft companies gave the workers their advance pays with the travel ban in effect and deductible once the port operations resume.

He said they are expecting any announcement from the city and province of Iloilo, the Philippine Coast Guard, and Marina on the resumption of trips.

Last week, Mayor Jerry Treñas put Iloilo City under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine status until May 31, after a spike of local transmission of COVID cases was observed. Stricter minimum health protocols were also implemented, including the travel moratorium to Bacolod City and Negros Occidental.

Only the operations of RoRo vessels carrying essential goods and plying the Bacolod to Dumangas route and vice versa remain unhampered.

Affected porters and employees were given food assistance through the community pantry set up exclusively for them by some government officials and the private sector.

The nonoperation of the three fastcraft companies for seven days affected close to 200 office staff and crewmembers, around 50 porters, and vendors in the canteen at Bredco port, Carbon said. — MML