The ongoing satellite registration of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the University of St. La Salle (USLS) in Bacolod City is a super spreader activity with the hundreds, if not thousands, of prospective out-of-town transferee-voters being unloaded from trucks, buses and ambulances and DRRMO vehicles of different Negros local government units (LGUs) at the USLS grounds and Ayala Malls the past two weeks.
The task force also took into account the report of law enforcement agencies that the out-of-towners are in violation of curfew hours as they mass up at the registration site as early as 12:00 midnight or 1:00 a.m.
This was the analysis of the Emergency Operations Center-Task Force (EOC-TF) as it pointed out that the spike in COVID-19 infections began with the onset of the voter registration.
“Is it just a coincidence?,” City Administrator Em Legaspi-Ang, concurrent EOC-TF executive director and COVID-19 Vaccination Council coordinator, asked in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Ang has reasons to believe the ongoing voter registration has something to do with the surge of cases, recalling that two months ago, before these daily “hakot” registrants from out-of-town were being unloaded in satellite venues, Bacolod City cases slowed down with infections averaging everyday only between 20 to 30.
“We now have an extraordinary spike (of infections) and extraordinary spike in the number of deaths, too. It is also sad because in the list of fatalities were people I know personally. But it’s the reality,” she related.
During the last two months, Bacolod City became a model for Western Visayas LGUs because of the low COVID cases. Some were adopting its strategies in the prevention and vaccination drive.
Medical experts also believe that the sudden increase in the rise of COVID cases was because many of those coming from other areas, who freely sneak in and out of Bacolod are unvaccinated.
If you look at the Department of Health records, Ang said, it showed that as of September 28, the vaccination rate of Negros Occidental is only at 13 percent as against the Bacolod City’s vaccination rate of 50 plus percent coverage.
She also expressed alarm that with the reported extension of voter registration until October 31, COVID cases in Bacolod may turn for the worse, noting that as shown in the photos and video footages forwarded by concerned netizens to the EOC that those lining up at the USLS do not wear their face mask properly and fail to observe proper physical distancing./WDJ