Border closure spreads like virus outside Luzon to Negros Occidental, Northern Samar town

BACOLOD CITY—Border closures are spreading like virus outside Luzon as two more Visayas areas—a town and a province—declared enhanced community quarantine, the term that President Rodrigo Duterte used to stop people from moving around freely in the hope of stopping COVID-19 transmission.

The town of Catarman, capital of Northern Samar province, will start closing its borders and keeping people at home past midnight of March 27 until the same time on April 14.


The province of Negros Occidental would do the same from midnight of March 30 to April 15.

Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson on Thursday (March 26) said the lockdown was needed to keep people off the streets and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.


He said people’s movement would be “limited to accessing basic necessities.” “Provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated,” he said. Soldiers and policemen would be all over.

Bacolod City Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, speaking for Mayor Evelio Leonardia, said the city was expected to copy the provincial restrictions. Bacolod is a highly urbanized city and not politically part of Negros Occidental.

Lacson’s order looked similar in so many ways to Duterte’s. Establishments selling basic necessities would remain open. These included markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies, food preparation and delivery, water refilling, laundry, money transfer, gas stations, telecoms, BPOs and the province’s traditional enterprise, sugar centrals.

Like Duterte, Lacson also suspended public transport. No jeepneys, taxis, vans-for-hire, tricycles, e-tricycles and pedicabs.

In Catarman Mayor Francisco Rosales Jr. said he declared a community quarantine because of an “alarming number” of persons under investigation, or those with symptoms, and persons under monitoring, or those without symptoms.

As of March 25, Catarman has recorded 853 PUM and 22 PUI.

The restrictions are very similar to those in Luzon. Work-from-home would be implemented except by offices or factories that need to operate with skeletal forces.


No public transportation is allowed in the town and alcoholic drinks are banned.

Copying what’s happening in Luzon, each household will be issued passes to leave the house. This would allow only one member of the household, aged 18 to 59 years old, to leave the house to buy necessities.

Businesses to be kept open are the same as those on the list of Negros Occidental.

Banks and remittance shops, retail stores and media offices are allowed to operate provided they enforce safe distancing and require employees to wear masks and not gather as groups.

Wakes are limited to only five days and only 20 mourners. Only direct relatives are allowed to be at burial in cemeteries.

Edited by TSB

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