Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo has signed Executive Order No. 2020-26 placing the province under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for 14 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Degamo signed the EO Tuesday afternoon following a meeting-consultation with the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19, city and municipal mayors, and representatives from the private sector.
The EO includes guidelines on the implementation of the ECQ, which will take effect at 12:01 midnight of April 3 and end on 12:01 a.m. on April 18.
The governor, however, said that depending on the current scenario in the country on the Covid-19 infections, there could be an extension of the ECQ.
Among the highlights of the EO is the issuance of a community quarantine pass in a clustering system, where a resident may be allowed to cross the border to a neighboring town within the same cluster.
This, he said, would make it easier for the people to move around in the clustered areas.
For those having to cross borders from one cluster to another, one is required to obtain a border pass and a vehicle pass from the police.
Cluster I covers Dumaguete City, Bacong Dauin, Zamboanguita, Siaton, Valencia, Sibulan, and San Jose; Cluster II — Bayawan City, Sta. Catalina and Basay; Cluster III, — Tanjay City, Bais City, Amlan, Pamplona, Mabinay, Manjuyod, Bindoy, and Ayungon; Cluster IV, Tayasan and Jimalalud; and Cluster V — Guihulngan City, Canlaon City, La Libertad, and Vallehermoso.
The ECQ also imposes a mandatory stay at home order for all and only those who will buy basic necessities and seek medical treatment can leave the house, provided that they are below 64 years old and carrying a community quarantine pass.
Also exempted are policemen and soldiers, medical practitioners, all authorized national and local government officials and employees, drivers of delivery vehicles of all cargoes, accredited media personnel, those in the agriculture sector, and employees of grocery stores, gas refilling stations, pharmacies, and utility firms such as water, power, and telecommunications, among others.
Certain establishments such as banks, veterinary clinics, groceries, bakeshops, and water-refilling stations, to name a few, are also allowed to operate but only until 8 p.m. Dine-in is not allowed in food establishments, only take-out and delivery services.
No hotels are allowed to operate except for those who have guests with existing booking accommodation as of March 26, 2020, guests who have existing long-term leases, and employees of business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
The EO also stipulates the suspension of all operations of land vehicles except for certain cases such as when buying food and other necessities.
Emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, government vehicles such as those of the police and military, fire trucks, and others, however, are exempted, as well as others authorized by the governor and mayor or a duly authorized representative.
There shall also be restricted land and sea travel, as well as border control policies, and no one can enter or leave the province unless for certain exemptions such as for medical emergencies, with border checkpoints also to be conducted unhampered.
The EO also stipulates that the sharing of unverified and unauthorized information, especially on Covid-19, without the approval of the IATF, shall be dealt with accordingly with legal action to be taken for those found guilty of the offense.
Other guidelines in the EO include the handling and disposal of remains of confirmed Covid-19 cases and patients under investigation (PUIs) for the disease, enforcement of compliance for businesses, and implementation and penalties for non-implementation of the EO guidelines.
Capitol Information Officer Bimbo Miraflor said the EO does not carry with it a penalty clause as those under the national directives shall be adopted. (PNA)