The city government has laid out an initial set of guidelines for the public under a general community quarantine (GCQ) status for Palawan that will start on Friday, focusing mainly on the need to continue existing health safeguards to prevent the incidence of COVID-19 infection.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron, meeting with local officials and selected industry leaders at the City Coliseum on Thursday afternoon, said essential economic activities and related movement of people will be allowed in keeping with the policy guidelines for GCQ areas released by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
He said the guidelines are expected to change accordingly as the national government clarifies the governing policies “as we go along.”
“For the meantime, nakasalalay lamang tayo sa ipalalabas ng IATF,” Mayor Bayron said.
Bayron and city planning officer Jovenee Sagun outlined the general GCQ policies as follows:
- The old quarantine passes will no longer be valid starting May 3, and new quarantine passes will be issued by barangays based on new guidelines.
- Operation of public transport will be allowed starting Friday, subject to physical distancing guidelines
- Higher education institutions (HEIs) will be allowed to open to finish the academic year, to issue credentials of students and to prepare for the next academic year
- Malls will be allowed to open but subject to restrictions (e.g. persons 20-yrs-old and below will not be allowed; only non-leisure shops are allowed to open)
- Sectors that are not allowed to open include gym fitness studios, sports facilities, entertainment facilities, restaurants, pubs and bars, trade shows, conventions, retreats, political gatherings; training, games, tournaments, gambling and betting activities, tour operations activities, activities of membership organizations
- Sectors that are allowed to open include agriculture including its entire value chain from production to manufacturing, manufacturing, and processing of basic food products, medicines, and med supplies, all food, vitamins, med products, and pet food.
- Services that are allowed: medical and dental clinics, retail establishments, food preparations, logistics services transporting only basic necessities, delivery services, banks, power, energy, telecoms, waste disposal services, electricity, gas, water collection, waste disposal (except junk shops), veterinary activities, repair shops (except landscape care); security activities, hotel accommodations for OFW and front line service sectors, gas stations, laundry shops including self-service, funeral services; export companies; business processing offices – 50 onsite, 50 offsite;
Public transport guidelines
Bayron said tricycles will be allowed to operate, but can only carry one passenger at a time. He said that current tariff regulations may be set aside to allow tricycle operators to negotiate fares with their passengers.
“Mag usap sila kung ano ang taripa, habang may problema tayo,” Bayron said.
The same policy will apply with multicabs. He said that the city government has no mandate to regulate the tariff.
For multicabs loading of passengers, Bayron proposed that there should be a reduction of the maximum load of passengers to allow room for physical distancing.
“Lagyan ng masking tape na marker ang upuan. Dapat hindi magkatapat ang pasahero,” he said.
Bayron also said that tricycles will temporarily be allowed to operate along the national highways, despite the existing national ban being imposed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“Pag-uusapan natin pero I propose habang may problema tayo payagan natin. Ako na ang sasagot, na wala kaming choice. Kailangan payagan namin dahil wala kaming choice,” Bayron said.
Bayron announced the changes in curfew hours under GCQ, which will be from 8 pm to 5 am on the following day.
Bayron said the new quarantine passes will ensure a more strict policy on movement. He said it will include, among others, information about the marketing hours allowed for the bearer.
“Nakalagay doon ang oras ng curfew, oras ng pamamalengke,” he said.
Public works projects
Bayron announced that the city government’s public works projects will resume. He also said that the transport of aggregates into the city will be allowed, provided health restrictions are observed.
“Wala namang problema sa amin. Kailangan namin ang graba for public works pero dapat may regulations sa City ENRO,” Bayron said.
Under the GCQ guidelines of the city, malls will be opened only for basic necessities and will discourage leisure activities. Mall temperatures will be required at 26 degrees and wifi services will be cut off. Non-leisure stores, barbershops, and salons will be allowed but under strict health guidelines.
Returning residents and stranded passengers
Bayron said the city has also prepared for the arrival of returning residents including the fishermen stranded in Mindoro who will be quarantined at a facility in Barangay Irawan. The police will be guarding the facility to discourage the fishermen from breaking quarantine.
He also said a group of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning from Manila will be quarantined at the Legend Hotel for 14 days.
“Kapag umuwi dito yong mga OFW, puwersado tayo na mag-quarantine din. Para safe tayo at medyo kampante. Sagot ng city ang food at accommodation,” he said.
No lifting of liquor ban
Bayron said he had turned down requests to lift the existing liquor ban.
“Dapat paigtingin pa natin dahil dalawang linggo na lang naman. Pupunta na tayo sa “new normal,” he said. (With reports from Romar Miranda)