Negros Occidental government officials are facing a dilemma on how to manage the huge volume of passengers who will be arriving in airports and seaports of the province after May 31, amid the campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer, noting that there will be about 150 passengers in every flight, asked yesterday, “What should we do with them?
“Since we are under the General Community Quarantine, should we treat them as Persons Under Monitoring (PUM)?” he asked.
“That's just the airport. How about if the seaports open too?" Ferrer asked.
In his meeting with Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and provincial consultant former Rep. Alfredo Benitez, Ferrer said there was a proposal to require arriving passengers to submit themselves to COVID-19 testing, which is expensive.
With P1,200 to P1,300 per testing, who will pay for it? Ferrer again asked, pointing out that it will be an additional burden for passengers if they will have to pay for it.
The other option, he added, is to place them under house quarantine for monitoring. But Ferrer admitted that it will not be effective.
He also noted that those tested positive for COVID-19 are returning Overseas Filipino Workers. “But we are mandated to take care of them, because they are Negrenses,”Ferrer said.
The Maritime Industry Authority has postponed the resumption of inter-island sea travel between Negros Occidental and Iloilo until May 31, as requested by Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, as a preventive measure against COVID-19.
Airline companies also suspended operations until the end of the month.
Ferrer also called for “unity of approaches” between the provincial government and Bacolod City in the fight against COVID-19.
He stressed that lack of coordination between the two local government units will affect the people and the business community.*
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