Cebu considers trimming list of exempted individuals on border controls

urge business establishment to do stay-in arrangement for workers

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Reporter/CDN Digital | April 17,2020 - 07:47 PM
The Capitol has called for an emergency meeting with all mayors in Cebu island to discuss about border controls as the number of COVID-19 cases here continues to rise. | Morexette Erram

The Capitol has called for an emergency meeting with all mayors in Cebu island to discuss about border controls as the number of COVID-19 cases here continues to rise. | Morexette Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Plans of reducing the number of individuals exempted from Cebu province’s border control and restrictions are being considered as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

This developed after mayors in Cebu’s towns and component cities agreed to control the traffic of travelers going between Cebu City and other parts of the province.

They came up with such decision during an emergency meeting led by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Friday, April 17, 2020, at the Capitol’s Social Hall.

The meeting’s agenda was to address and prevent the spread COVID-19 in Cebu province by tightening border controls.

The mayors all agreed that the ingress and egress of individuals coming to and from Cebu City posed as a risk. There are 161 COVID-19 cases reported in the city as of Friday, April 17, 2020.

As a result, they planned to take off workers in groceries and department stores, drug stores and pharmacies, bakeries, and restaurants and fast-food chains from the exemption list.

These employees were initially not included in Executive Order (EO) No. 5-O, signed and issued on March 27, 2020, that placed down specific guidelines on implementing Cebu’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

But Garcia, on March 31, 2020, released another EO that effectively included workers from these industries in the list of individuals exempted from the province’s border controls.

“They were not initially included however, we received requests and appeals since they, too, are considered essential workers,” added Garcia in Cebuano.

The province’s mayors also suggested and urged business establishments in Cebu City to start preparing board and lodging arrangements for their workers residing outside the city.

This could mean that workers in Cebu City, who reside in any of the province’s towns and components cities, have to stay within the city as they would continue to report for duty.

Members of the Provincial Board (PB), who were also present in the gathering, as well as the League of Municipalities in the Philippines – Cebu chapter (LMP- Cebu), expressed support on drafting their respective resolutions on this matter.

Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, in turn, also asked the town and component city mayors to request firms operating in their jurisdictions to do the same for workers residing in Cebu City.

Garcia said they would be coming up with another EO to formalize the mayors’ agreement.

Boundaries between Cebu City and the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu province are located in the cities of Talisay (south), Mandaue (north), and Balamban town (west).

Aside from limiting the movement of several employees in the island, Cebu province is also considering to tighten borders by limiting the ingress-egress point of Talisay City, and stricter protocols on issuing and presenting vehicle quarantine passes.

The meeting has not ended as of this story’s posting./dbs

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