Higher fines, border controls, limited movement in Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City has reimposed border controls, increased the penalty for violators, and intensified the monitoring of movement among residents as ways to curb the rising cases of COVID-19 in the city.
This was the pronouncement of Acting Mayor Michael Rama on August 11, 2021, as cases of the COVID-19 continue to rise.
Rama said that they have already given the residents, transport sector, and businesses time to adjust to the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and it is time to intensify the implementation of the protocols.
First, the acting mayor has directed the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) to place border controls around the city.
These border controls will check every public transport for compliance with the limited capacity, ensure that no one aged 17 and below or 65 and above is going out, and ensure that the curfew is properly observed.
“Mga pahimangno should be enough. Let us now tighten our borders, intensify our checkpoints, and enforce IATF rules in public transportation with no more consideration, as well as on private vehicles going out for no essential purpose,” said Rama in his press statement.
Second, he reiterated that the liquor ban stays and that non-essential establishments, including dine-in food services, will not be allowed
“Those who may go out are limited to those reporting for essential work, with proper documentation, and those who need to acquire essential needs from allowed businesses. The police will arrest you if you have no reason to be out,” added the acting mayor.
Rama said that an identification card for workers; prescription or appointment schedules; or any form of identification will suffice for those going out for essential reasons.
Individuals going to work, to vaccination centers, to government offices, visiting medical facilities, and all necessary reasons to go out will be accepted as long as the individual is following the minimum health protocols.
However, if they fail to follow the health protocols, or if they are outside the age of those allowed to leave their homes, they will be apprehended.
Church capacity is also reduced to 10 percent, while only the immediate family members can attend the burial of an individual who died of non-COVID reasons.
Lastly, the penalty for violating those protocols or guidelines has been increased from P500 to P1,000.
It can be noted that the city’s ordinance imposing penalties to quarantine violators does impose a P1,000 fine for first-time violators and this increases for every succeeding violation.
However, Mayor Edgardo Labella issued an order to reduce the penalty to P500 when the cases were reduced in the last quarter of 2020 because the P1,000 penalty was too heavy for the ordinary public.
Now, Rama has reimposed the P1,000 to further deter the public from violating the health protocols during the current surge.
Police Colonel Josefino Ligan, the Cebu City Police Office director, said that the number of quarantine violators remains high.
The average adult apprehensions are currently at 150 per day, while the rescue of violating minors averages at 30 per day.
Ligan believes the stricter protocols would reduce the number of violators. /rcg
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