By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Negros Occidental yesterday said there are no more travel restrictions for residents of Bacolod City who want to travel to Iloilo City only and vice versa.
PCG-Negros Occidental chief, Lt. Commander Jansen Benjamin, said Bacolod City residents who want to travel within Iloilo City only are no longer required to secure any travel documents. The same protocols are applied for Iloilo City residents who want to travel to Bacolod City only.
However, residents of both cities are required to register with the BacTrac system when traveling in between the two cities.
On the other hand, Benjamin said during his last meeting with Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) head, Dr. Zeaphard Caelian, residents of Negros Occidental are still required to submit themselves for swab testing upon arrival in Bacolod.
Some changes, however, were made wherein those who have been tested will be allowed to return home instead of being redirected to the provincial government’s designated quarantine facilities.
Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipino workers (ROFs), meanwhile, are required to register to the S-Pass online system developed by the Department of Science and Technology, which is similar to Bacolod’s BacTrac system.
With regards to the resumption of fast craft services between Bacolod and Iloilo, Benjamin said the resumption of trips remains uncertain as the operators are still concerned over the sudden changes in the trip restrictions.
In the meantime, Benjamin advised those who want to go to Iloilo City to use FastCat as they are the only operator who plies the route.
However, it was also discovered yesterday by Watchmen Daily Journal that although FastCat is operating the route, they do not have any scheduled departure times available.
Upon asking the ticketing agent at the Banago Port, the agent stated that the vessel only leaves when they have cargo that needs to be brought to Iloilo City.
Watchmen Daily Journal also noticed that there is not much passenger activity at the Banago Port, except for several trucks which are waiting to board the vessel.
Earlier, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas have agreed to reopen travel between the two cities following weeks of suspension due to the sudden recorded spike in Covid-19 cases in the two cities./DGB, WDJ