The city government on Friday affirmed the new General Community Quarantine (GCQ) guidelines providing for a set of restrictions that will be in place in Puerto Princesa City at least until May 31.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron, presiding in a press briefing on Friday, explained the city government’s existing quarantine measures were based on the guidelines coming from the national inter-agency task force (IATF).

“May kaunting pagbabago, ang provisions ay hindi nalalayo sa dating order. Ang diskarte natin ay ‘yong makaga-ganda sa pinakamaraming mamamayan,” Bayron said.

Bayron however said the city government remains careful not to open its borders unnecessarily, citing the risk of virus spread.

“Hangga’t kaya natin na pipigilan ang mga tao na darating dito sa atin, pipigilan natin,” Bayron said.

Regulated Movement

Land, sea, and air travel from outside the mainland Palawan remains restricted with the existing exceptions to essential transport.

The city government has maintained the ban on public transport connecting the city to the other municipalities, stating that the decision to allow public transport operations will be done in coordination with the provincial government.

“Open tayo sa possibility na sakaling payagan sila ng probinsya,” city administrator Arnel Pedrosa said.

Local stranded individuals (LSI) within mainland Palawan may be allowed to return to their respective localities provided they comply with certain requirements including health certificates and travel pass from Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) or Municipal Health Office (MHO).

“Sa locally stranded individuals, kailangan may medical certificates galing sa BHERT at MHO, at i-prove mo na may trabaho ka dito,” Bayron said.

Pedrosa said that transit using private vehicles and pre-arranged transport from the local government units (LGU) may be allowed.

“Under previous EO, pinapayagan na ang movement. Kung sakaling mag-open ang province, prohibited ang mass public [transport], pero open tayo sa possibility na sakaling payagan sila ng probinsya,” Pedrosa added.

Mass Testing

Some 4,878 rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits were set to arrive this week to augment the 1,415 RDT kits the City has earlier purchased.

Additional medical supplies were also purchased, however, ventilators and medicines were excluded due to lack of supplies in Metro Manila.

The quarantine facility in Sitio Magarwak, Barangay Bacungan is poised to be completed next week, which may house 60 COVID-19 positive patients with no symptoms or those with mild symptoms.

Bayron also intends to put pressure on the Congress seeking to extend the isolation bed capacity of Ospital Ng Palawan (ONP) to 50.

“ONP kailangan magexpand ng isolation room, 50 beds. Kailangan i-pressure ang Congress,” Bayron added.

Remaining Budget and Recovery Plan

When asked if the city government has enough funds for other calamities as the typhoon season sets in, Bayron assured the public that the City has merely used the calamity fund previously allocated.

“Quick response fund (QRF) pa lang ang nagagamit natin,” Bayron said.

Bayron also reiterated that the small and micro enterprise, mostly reliant on tourism which has suffered a blow from the COVID-19 crisis, were yet to be planned based on the recommendations from the City Tourism Office (CTO).

“First time nangyari at lahat tayo kumakapa pa. Walang definite na stand sa ngayon, hihintayin pa natin ang recommendation ng Tourism,” Bayron said.

[Read more here: ]