Soccsksargen region border lockdown extends until July 31
MANILA, Philippines – The Soccsksargen region will continue its border lockdown until the end of July, a decision that was reached on Thursday, May 14, with the approval of the regional Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, according to Davao-based Mindanews.
Mindanews quoted General Santos Mayor Ronnel Rivera as saying that the lockdown meant that people and vehicles would still be prohibited from going in and out of the region. Rivera said that the extended lockdown has a “standing approval” from the national IATF.
Soccsksargen (Region 12) is made up of the provinces of North and South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat; and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan.
Rivera said that the decision was based on the rising COVID-19 cases in other areas, specifically the Davao region.
As of Saturday, May 16, Davao region has recorded 198 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak started. There have been 108 recoveries and 25 deaths.
The number of active cases in the whole region was at 90, with Davao City accounting for 84 of them, the regional Department of Health (DOH) said.
The Soccsksargen region, on the other hand, recorded its 17th coronavirus case on Saturday, a 26-year-old man from Cotabato City. He is now at a barangay isolation facility.
North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco issued Executive Order No. 66, which mandates strict border checkpoints with other regions and extending the general community quarantine until May 31.
North Cotabato shares borders with Maguindanao in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), and Davao City in the Davao region (Region 11)
Catamco said that thermal scanning, isolation, decontamination, and referrals will continue to be implemented in these border checkpoints.
Returning North Cotabato residents, including overseas Filipino workers from other regions have to register first with the province's Sagip Stranded program and should undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
OFWs with release clearances from the Office of the Overseas Workers Administration have to present negative COVID-19 test result certificates before they would be allowed into North Cotabato but it does not guarantee that they would not be subjected to the mandatory 14-day quarantine, according to the executive order.
The province's 14-day quarantine facilities are located in the borders, Catamco said.
Quarantine procedures exempt delivery of food and services but they still have to follow the basic assessment based on DOH protocols.
The executive order allows cargo with a maximum of 3 personnel for each trip.
Those passing through the province going to other regions will also be allowed as long as they show proper identification and certificates of acceptance from the local government units.
Non-government organizations and other groups responding to the COVID-19 crisis have to establish field offices in North Cotabato to reduce frequent travels to other regions.
Catamco, in her order, also allowed human remains to be transported into the province but these should be placed in cadaver bags and must be covered by documents such as death certificates and permit to travel from proper agencies.
Catamco also allowed the operation of some businesses and industries such as those in the agriculture sector, manufacturing and processing of food, groceries and supermarkets, public markets, and convenience stores. – Rappler.com