By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday that the provincial government will comply with the recommendation of the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) to still place the province under a general community quarantine (GCQ) status from July 16 to 31.
Diaz’s announcement came amid reports that the NIATF had recommended to place the provincial capital of Bacolod City under a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until the end of the month.
Bacolod City, meanwhile, is currently urging the NIATF for the city to remain under GCQ pointing out COVID-19 cases in the city are dropping.
According to Diaz, they trust the NIATF’s decision is “science-based” and therefore they have no other option but to comply.
“Lacson already placed the province under GCQ, so there are no changes with our current executive order as of this time,” Diaz said.
However, he noted that in case Bacolod City is placed under MECQ by July 16, some businesses in Negros Occidental may face some difficulties.
“This is going to give us a lot of setbacks economically in terms of delivering basic services. It could also be disrupted,” Diaz pointed out.
The provincial administrator is also hoping the NIATF will agree to the request of the city government of Bacolod to retain the GCQ status.
“For the good of the province, it is far more advantageous that the quarantine status for Bacolod remains under GCQ,” he said.
He further added if Bacolod City is placed under MECQ, the offices of the provincial government may have to adopt the regulations such as operating a skeletal work force only.
Currently, the provincial capitol is still observing a four-day workweek ever since the number of COVID-19 cases in the province spiked earlier this year.
“So far the provincial government is doing well under a four-day workweek scheme, but if we are forced to operate under a skeletal workforce then a lot of transactions and projects will surely be affected,” Diaz noted./DGB, WDJ