Sep 30, 2020

City draws up new GCQ guidelines

The order reiterates the imposition of “minimum health standards” such as wearing face masks, mandatory checking of temperature, regular use of disinfections, presence of sanitation stations, and strict observance of physical distancing

Highlights of PPC guidelines under GCQ
* Liquor ban lifted, with restrictions
* Curfew set back to 9 pm – 5 am
* Seniors allowed outside their homes, with restrictions
* Physical classes remain suspended
* Inter-municipality travel allowed
* Flights/ports allowed only for the movement of goods
* Limited operations of hotels
* Mass gatherings prohibited
* Mandatory quarantine for returning travelers

The city government is set to issue on Friday (May 15) a detailed set of guidelines that will prevail in Puerto Princesa City under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status effective May 16.

Executive Order No. 2020-025 signed by Mayor Lucilo Bayron on Thursday (May 14), a copy of which was obtained by Palawan News, adopts the national inter-agency task force (IATF) guidelines for GCQ areas. It will be effective from May 16 to 31.

The order reiterates the imposition of “minimum health standards” such as wearing face masks, mandatory checking of temperature, regular use of disinfections, presence of sanitation stations, and strict observance of physical distancing.

It also relaxed the existing restrictions on the movement of people and those who are allowed outside their homes.

Elderlies, previously prohibited to go outside, will be permitted to go out provided that they “do not have high-risk health issues”.

Highlights of guidelines

Hotels will be allowed to resume operations but only for “long-term bookings”, stranded tourists, and housing returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Land, sea, and air travel will remain regulated. However, the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) may be used for “sweeper flights” arranged by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Other pre-arranged flights for stranded foreign and local tourists, and students, may also be allowed to depart and disembark in PPIA.

The order reiterated that the returning OFWs would have to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine. It specifically stated that home quarantine for returning travelers “is not an option.”

Liquor Ban

The prohibition on sale and delivery of liquor within the city will be lifted. However, consumption of alcoholic beverages in public areas remained prohibited.

Regulated Movement

The order allows for inter-municipal travel, adopting the national IATF guidelines allowing travel within the same GCQ zone.

“In the case of transit across municipalities in Palawan in the same community quarantine setup, such transit will be treated as movements within a single GCQ zone,” the order stated.

The curfew hours were relaxed to 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., with “selected checkpoints” remaining in place.

Councilor Victor Oliveros, majority floor leader of the City Council, in a phone interview Tuesday said that “while there’s a possibility of lifting the general community quarantine (GCQ)”, the border control measures pushed by the local legislative body would “stay on some certain level”.

“We are not ready to open our borders, like for example our airport for commercial [flights], sea ports, and other points of entry,” Oliveros said.

Other guidelines forthcoming

Earlier, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial and city director Virgilio Tagle said there may still be changes in the national IATF guidelines for GCQ areas like Palawan.

“Sa opinyon ko lang, halos parehas pero baka may changes pagdating sa Palawan na baka may mabago ng kaunti,” Tagle said.

The regulation on mass gatherings was also relaxed, setting a personal meeting at 10 individuals with strict observation of the “new normal” protocols.

Physical classes at all levels, applicable for public and private institutions, remained suspended during the GCQ period.

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