Travel suspension between Negros and Panay sought to curb COVID-19
BACOLOD CITY –– The Western Visayas Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) is seeking the suspension of travel between Negros and Panay for seven days to contain the rising spread of COVID-19.
But businessmen are against the move, saying it would further hurt the local economy, said Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Carbon said thousands of people at the ports in Negros and Panay would be deprived of their sources of income, and businesses would further suffer.
Carbon said he does not think the national IATF would approve the request because businesses had to survive amid the pandemic.
“The business sector was not consulted during the RIATF meeting with the local chief executives (LCEs) of Western Visayas on Saturday,” he said.
The RIATF joint resolution recommended a moratorium on travel between Negros and Panay for seven days, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said. The plan, however, needs the approval of the national IATF.
Treñas said Iloilo province joined the request of the city for the seven-day suspension of travel.
Negros Occidental and all other government agencies present at the meeting Saturday concurred with the request.
“It was unanimously approved and may be taken up by the national IATF on Monday, May 17,” he said.
Treñas said he moved for the travel moratorium because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, especially in his city.
If the request is approved, he said the national IATF would set the dates for the moratorium, but they requested that people be given time to prepare before it is enforced.
Treñas said COVID-19 cases are spreading fast in Iloilo City. He also requested the Department of Health (DOH ) for more vaccines against COVID-19 and to hasten their rollout.
“I also asked for additional personnel at vaccination centers so we can open more sites,” he added.
Treñas has asked the DOH for equipment and trained personnel for genome sequencing so that testing for new COVID-19 variants could be conducted in the region.
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