No border restrictions, Cebu to have one island policy
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Province and the Tricities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu, have agreed that the policy of the entire island should be uniform when it comes to handling the threat of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19.
In separate statements, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said they met with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to discuss about uniform policies for the entire island.
The chief executives have decided that even if Lapu-Lapu City has been placed under Alert Level 3, there will be no border restrictions to be implemented and any restrictions will be uniform for the entire island.
The meeting was held on the evening of January 6, 2022, which the mayors and the governor attended with the Presidential Assistant to the Visayas, Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said that this idea is welcome for the provincial government since the situation on the Omicron variant cannot precede the current crisis Cebu is facing due to the aftermath of Typhoon Odette.
The governor is against putting up more restrictions over Cebu when many families have been gravely affected by the typhoon. Any stricter border or movement restriction might crash the economy faster than it may end a COVID-19 surge.
“Ang NCR (National Capital Region), they can afford mag Level 3, mag-unsa sila, unya restrictions na sad. We cannot afford that right now. You cannot say, stay at home. I have 90,000 families that do not have homes, where will they stay?”
“We have just been hit by Odette. The worst we can, low na kaayo ang morale sa atong mga kaigsunoan, with more restrictions,” said the governor in a press briefing on January 7, 2022.
Garcia said Cebu must focus first on the rehabilitation of its badly-hit areas before imposing stricter restrictions, if any, to prevent a COVID-19 surge.
The governor is not the least worried about the Omicron variant as well as she said experts have found out that the variant may be highly contagious, but less severe. Some experts say that the Omicron spells the beginning of the end for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Like it or not, Omicron will be here, but how do we react to it? Even experts are saying it is highly infectious, highly contagious, but less severe. And this variant has developed from infecting the lower lung, to just limiting itself to the broncho-tracheal area. It means you will be experiencing mild symptoms very much like the flu. But that’s just it. So I am asking our fellow Cebuanos do not panic.”
“Let us focus more on rebuilding our people’s lives even as we take the necessary precautions. We have bigger problems to solve because the clear and present danger is referring to people who do not have homes, devastated economy. That is the present danger right now,” said Garcia.
Still, the governor has instructed the mayors of the component towns and cities to ensure the health of their constituents by providing vitamins to health care workers to boost their immune systems. /rcg
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