Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza has been identified as a “critical zone” and placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from May 17-31.

The Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) on COVID-19 granted the request of Mayor Abraham Ibba to declare a lockdown on the town’s most highly-populated barangay which currently has a record of 13 active COVID-19 cases.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) regional director Wilhelm Suyko notified the municipality of the RIATF’s concurrence in a letter addressed to Bataraza Mayor Abraham Ibba.

The surrounding areas of the barangay are also ordered to “strictly operate within its community quarantine classification as determined by the local IATF/CODE team.”

In an interview with Palawan News on Tuesday, May 18, Punong Barangay Nelson Acob said the lockdown will be implemented to restrict extra movements of the residents to prevent the spread or transmission of the said virus.

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“Base po ito sa Executive Order no. 05 ni Mayor Ibba, at agad itong kinatigan ng RIATF upang maisailalim muli ang barangay natin sa lockdown,”pahayag ni Acob.

“Kaya nga paulit-ulit naming panawagan sa lahat ng residente ng Bataraza na please sumunod sa mga guidelines na nakapaloob sa ECQ natin upang lahat ay maging ligtas. Kung walang gagawing importante huwag nang lumabas. Sa bahay lang muna talaga para makasunod tayo sa ipinag- uutos,” he added.

Guidelines and procedures in the implementation of ECQ in barangay Riotuba are contained in the EO signed by Ibba on May 14 and effective for two weeks starting May 17-31.

Persons below 18 and 65 and above are prohibited from leaving their houses.

Business operation will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only window transactions will be allowed.

Only pharmacies, drugstores, banks, remittances, dental, public and private hospitals, energy sector, telecom companies, funeral and embalming services and logistic services will be allowed to open while entertainment venues such as karaoke bars, recreational activities, gyms, amusement parks, outdoor tourist attractions, dine in restaurants and beauty salon and spa will not be allowed.

Beaches and resorts and outdoor activities are also order to be closed, liquor ban and curfews hour from 8 pm to 5 am will also be implemented.

Meanwhile in transportation, tricycles will be allowed to travel but plastic barriers between the passenger and driver must be installed and only one passenger is allowed.

This is the second time that the barangay was placed under ECQ, the first being last April 19-May 2, also because of local transmission cases in their area.

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is the news correspondent for Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan. He also covers some agriculture stories. His interests are with food and technology.