The local chief executives of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras, and Iloilo City settled to harmonize their respective measures and come up with a unified one Panay executive order on community quarantine.
The Panay-wide community quarantine, meant to maintain the island’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)-free status, will take effect on April 1, Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC)-6 chair Jose Roberto Nuñez said on Monday.
The RDRRMC has called for an emergency meeting which was attended by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, Governors Arthur Defensor of Iloilo Jr., Rhodora Cadiao of Antique, Florencio Miraflores of Aklan, and Samuel Gumarin of Guimaras, among other front line agencies.
Before April 1, all provinces and Iloilo City will close their borders to provide an incubation period for their persons under monitoring (PUMs).
“For now, they will stick on their early issuances (executive orders) because we are monitoring and concentrating on the PUMs. The provinces need to be cleansed first,” Nuñez said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will be tasked to identify strategic areas and lead the border patrol.
The movement of goods and supplies will continue but the movement of people will be controlled.
“Normal procedure, but I tell our locals that we have to abide,” he said.
After March 31, the RDRRMC chair clarified that the people in Panay Island can move from one province to another. “We can move. We can still practice what we need to practice here,” he said.
Cadiao, in a separate interview, said the move in restricting the provinces’ borders first is a help to maintain Panay free from the virus.
She said there were Antiqueños from Manila who flew in the province and she does not want Antique locals to be potential virus carriers when they transact business in Iloilo or Aklan.
“For 14 days, we are going to clean our provinces first. That’s why we are going with border control first but not of food, not of materials not for commerce but for people’s movement,” she said.
The “One Panay” executive order was also one of the proposals of Treñas.
The mayor also raised in the meeting the identification of a hospital that will handle Covid-19 cases.
“Because we are now working as One Panay and the Guimaras cluster, I proposed that we will identify a hospital that if cases will rise, we will know where we will bring the patients,” he said.
Covid-19 patients in Panay placed in only one hospital will prevent the possibilities of its further spread. For this matter, the Western Visayas Sanitarium in Santa Barbara, Iloilo is being considered.
For its additional measures and preparations for a Panay-wide community quarantine, the RDRRMC will request the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) for their air assets to be used in transporting personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Department of Health (DOH) in Manila to the region.
The DOH will also convene and form the technical working group to look into the improvised materials as an alternative for the PPEs reproduction. (PNA)