By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz pointed at the incident involving the recent interception of two travelers with fake vaccine cards at the Bacolod-Silay Airport should serve as a lesson to officials of the city government of Bacolod that the S-PaSS requirement should be retained at the air terminal.
Earlier on Tuesday, two travelers, one bound for Bacolod and another bound for Sagay City, were caught by the provincial government officials after they submitted fake vaccination cards via the S-PaSS system.
The Bacolod-bound traveler was denied entry, while the Sagay-bound traveler was able to reach the province but was immediately blocked by authorities and was immediately placed on a 14-day quarantine.
It is possible that both travelers could later face criminal charges for the fake vaccination cards, as well as violating provisions of Republic Act 11332, or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Concern Act.
“I don’t know what to explain to convince them nga asta subong may gapalusot gid ya nga indi magpabakuna mabiyahe, indi magpa RT-PCR mabiyahe. Ti, kita dira ya ang mabutang sa alang-alang,” Diaz pointed out.
He also apologized to all Bacolod and Negros Occidental-bound travelers who may have been affected by the row over the S-PaSS requirement, and pointed out if they want to return or visit the city and the province, they will immediately approve their request with haste.
“We will take care of you and we will make sure that you will be able to board your flight,” Diaz said.
With the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Western Visayas agreeing with the stand of the provincial government over their right to impose the S-PaSS requirement, Diaz is hoping the city government of Bacolod will put the issue to rest.
DILG-Western Visayas Regional Director Juan Jovian Engeniero said he has already responded to the letter forwarded by Mayor Evelio Leonardia providing them the policy direction towards the use of S-PaSS based on the existing resolution of the National Inter-Agency Task Force.
“We are cognizant of the intention of Bacolod City to ease the travel requirements for those going there, but there are means to do this while in line with the policy set by the national government,” Engeniero said.
“Through this, we hope to avoid conflict in the implementation of these policies among and within the local government units,” he added./DGB, WDJ