Gwen orders strict border control with Cebu City anew

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - CDN Digital | June 23,2020 - 10:44 PM

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia inspects the checkpoint at the border of the cities of Mandaue and Cebu along AS Fortuna Street in this March 30, 2020 file photo. 

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The eased border restrictions for workers from the province travelling to Cebu City and back has proven to be shortlived.

This as the Cebu provincial government will impose anew, starting this Friday, June 26, 2020, the strict border controls with Cebu City in an attempt to curb the increasing number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the province.

During her regular presser on Tuesday, June 23, Garcia said the province will re-implement Section 8 of Executive Order no. 17, which prohibits persons coming from Cebu City, an area under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), from entering the territorial jurisdiction of the province, which is now under a general community quarantine (GCQ).

Last June 3, when Cebu City was placed under GCQ, the province eased border restrictions, which allowed employees from Cebu province who work in the City to go home using only their company IDs and certificates of employment (COE).

But with the reverting of Cebu City back to ECQ, compromising the province’s intent to further downgrade to a modified GCQ and open up the tourism industry, Garcia said the province needed to reimpose the border controls anew.

As the province reverts back to its strict border controls beginning Friday, Garcia said residents of the province who work in Cebu City will have to choose whether to stay here and continue working or return home.

“This is to protect the province. Like it or not, dinha gyud sa pagsugod sa pag-ease up sa restrictions nato between Cebu City ug ang province nga nag-increase pod ang atong number of cases. It is not alarming but we have to admit [it] increased,” Garcia said.

(Like it or not, it’s when we started easing up restrictions between Cebu City and the province when the number of cases started to increase.)

For the sake of MGCQ

The move to reinstitute the border controls, in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus to the towns, also stems from the province’s intent to spare other towns from the economic burden brought by the closure of businesses, particularly those in line with tourism.

The province has already appealed twice to be reclassified to MGCQ in order for it to get the economy grinding again.

“Lisod og ang atong mga kalungsuran sa farther down south that have one or zero cases practically, unya that are depending on tourism. Daghan kaayong nagsira ron nga mga resorts. Daghan ang nagsara nga tourism activities,” Garcia said.

(It’s tough for the towns farther down south that have one or zero cases practically, and that are  depending on tourism. A lot of resorts closed down. A lot of tourism activities closed down.)

With the closure of the tourism businesses, several employees in the countryside have temporarily or permanently lost their jobs.

While the provincial government and the local government units that are mainly dependent on tourism have already started to make plans and craft protocols for each tourism activity, the province’s bread-and-butter industry remains closed until the province is officially declared as under MGCQ.

Unlike when under MGCQ, the GCQ status of the province still prohibits leisure travel and limits the accommodation capacities of hotels and resorts as a precaution against COVID-19.

If the tourism industry in Cebu will already reopen, the province intends to rebrand itself as a health and wellness hub and promote traditional health regimens. /bmjo

Read: Cebu eyes rebranding as PH’s health and wellness hub

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TAGS: border restriction, Cebu province, Gwen Garcia, Gwendolyn Garcia, Section 8 of Executive Order no. 17

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