Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson ordered the immediate closure of borders, ports, and airports across the province until April 14. The governor issued Executive Order No. 20-15 over the weekend, declaring all three entry points closed for at least one month in order to insulate the province from the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19.
The order, which was released before midnight on Sunday, states: “The entry of persons shall be restricted except all duly identified residents of the province, its cities and municipalities, health workers responding to emergency, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), all branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), persons travelling for urgent medical or humanitarian reasons, and persons transporting essential goods, supplies, and medicines.”
The directive also activated the Inter-Agency Against Coronavirus Disease, Border Monitoring, and Regulation Task Force, which will be composed of representatives from local government units, barangays, the PNP, AFP, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), will be tasked with defending provincial borders by setting up checkpoints and prevent the entry of individuals not allowed under the said order. In particular, entry points along the borders of Mabinay and Kabankalan City, Bayawan and Hinoba-an, San Carlos City and Vallehermoso, La Castellana and Canlaon City, among others will be under scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the PCG, PPA, and CAAP were directed to ensure all seaports and airports remain closed based on parameters outlined in the order.
The order also directs operators and dispatchers of buses and other public utility vehicles to refrain from crossing borders while checking all passengers for symptoms and checking temperatures prior boarding and purchasing of tickets.
Returning residents will be allowed back into the province but must present valid government-issued identification.
Meanwhile, the order also said all residents exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms will be deemed a person under investigation and must submit themselves for an interview and assessment while individuals traveling with persons manifesting Covid-19 symptoms will be considered a person under monitoring, both of whom must observe a 14-day quarantine.
Also included in the order was the prohibition of spreading fake news./DGB, WDJ