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City legislators suggest ‘No Movement Day’ to curb coronavirus surge

City councilors are proposing to the local Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to designate a weekend day, either Saturday or Sunday, as a “No Movement Day”, saying this will help minimize the spread of COVID-19 infections.

The idea was raised by councilor Jimmy L. Carbonell in a privilege speech Monday, May 3, and was adopted by the chamber as a resolution.

“Sabado at Linggo ay marami rin ang pumupunta sa mga beach resorts at ibang lugar na maraming tao. Palagay na lang natin na ang Linggo ay gawin na no movement day, ang mga tao ay nasa kani-kanilang tahanan at sarado ang mga establishments,” Carbonell said.

“Naniniwala ako na makatutulong ito para mabawasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19. Isang araw lang naman, mula Lunes hanggang Sabado ay gawin na ang dapat gawin. Makakatulong ito, sa loob ng isang buwan ay apat na beses ito,” Carbonell added.

Councilor Peter Maristela warned, however, that the proposed policy may be “unconstitutional”.

Maristela reiterated that the general community quarantine (GCQ) imposed for the month of May was already tight, citing further restrictions may curtail the city residents’ right to travel.

“Mahigpit na po ang GCQ. Ang sa akin ay ipatupad na lang ito ng mahigpit kasi for me it is against the constitution and law na bawalan na lumabas ang mga tao,” Maristela said.

According to Dr. Dean Palanca, incident commander of the Incident Management Team (IMT), in a live press briefing on April 28, around 90 percent of the COVID-19 cases were acquired in social and work-related gatherings, bringing the virus home that affected clusters of families in several barangays throughout the city.

“Lagpas 90% ng mga kaso natin galing sa social and work, kaya pakiusap din natin na dapat talaga kahit nasa opisina nakasuot pa din ng face mask. ‘Yong iba pagdating sa office tinatanggal na nila yung face mask nila,” Palanca said.

Councilor Nesario Awat, backing Carbonell’s claim, filed Resolution Nos. 1170 and 1171, urging city residents to “stay-at-home” and asking the city IATF to “coordinate and formulate island-wide synchronized strategy” to further curb the spread of the virus in the city and throughout the province of Palawan.

He said that the spread of the virus in the province’s primary business district would cause a spill over of cases in other Palawan towns, if different local IATFs are not in sync on the implementing guidelines on the movement of the people.

“Humihiling sa Provincial IATF kung saan magkaugnayan sila at maging cohesive ang approach in fighting this virus considering ang lahat ng transactions ng mga munisipyo ay nandito sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa. Kahit anong gawin natin dito ay magpapatuloy ang pagdami mg kaso kung hindi nagkakasundo ang dalawang lokal IATF because it covers the entire province of Palawan,” Awat said.

For the past week, the COVID-19 deaths had been reported in Balabac — a patient who died in a government hospital in Brooke’s Point, and the Narra resident who succumbed to the virus in a government hospital in Puerto Princesa, both had travel histories in the city.

Councilor Patrick Hagedorn, in his Resolution No. 1172, pointed out that the local residents will most likely go out if  business establishments remain open.

He requested the city IATF, barangay officials, and the COVID-19 marshals to strictly monitor the implementation of minimum health protocols to prevent the transmission of the virus while in public spaces.

 “Ang nagiging problema natin ay ang mga establishments, marami dyan restaurants at bars, ang importante talaga ay strict implementation kaya sana magpasa tayo ng resolution na bantayan talaga ang mga establishments kasi dyan ang nanggagaling ang mga virus, nandyan ang walang social distancing, walang mask at nagtitipon-tipon,” Hagedorn said

As of Monday, there are 381 active cases in Puerto Princesa from a total of 890 reported cases, with 492 recoveries and 15 deaths.

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