GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) – Local authorities are implementing starting Saturday strict measures, including a seven-hour curfew, conduct of checkpoints, entry and exit protocols, all aimed at thwarting the spread into this city of the dreaded COVID-19.
The measures include the implementation of a 9 p.m.. to 4 a.m. curfew starting Saturday, March 14.
This as police and immigration officers on Friday confronted four foreigners who refused to submit to monitoring by health officials.
The foreigners include two Cambodians and two Vietnamese, who are reportedly working on a project of a local fishing company.
Dr. Sharir Dulduco of the Department of Health, said the four have been tagged as persons under monitoring (PUM) for potential COVID-19 case.
Dulduco said that when sought by health officials, the four showed resistance prompting them to call in policemen and immigration officers, who explained to the foreigners what is required of them by Philippine laws.
He said the employer of the four, whose name he did not divulge, agreed to lease a house where the four will stay during the 14-day duration of their monitoring by personnel of the Department of Health.
Julius Jamorabon of the immigration bureau said they are also checking if the four are working in the country legally.
The four were reportedly set to leave in a couple of days. It was not mentioned when the four arrived in the city.
Meanwhile, local authorities will begin enforcing a 9 pm to 4 am curfew and other measures that will control and monitor the entry of people into this city.
This, as the city government urged schools, churches and mosques to refrain from holding masses and services.
An order by city mayor Ronnel Rivera put in detail the measures which are aimed at discouraging “non-essential movement” of people and to avoid mass gatherings which are potential in spreading infectious diseases like COVID-19.
The mayor sought the cooperation of everyone, urging school authorities to suspend classes and forego with graduation ceremonies and moving-up rites.
Rivera had a coordination meeting on Friday with the governors Steve Solon and Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. of nearby Sarangani and South Cotabato, respectively, who both expressed support to such move by city officials.
Bong Dacera of the local Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 said they have notified several churches and mosque administrators in the city on the ban on mass gatherings.
Dacera said certain protocols at checkpoints will be implemented beginning Saturday which will include the filling of declaration forms by commuters and motorists on their movements. Data gathered on this will be placed in a data bank for easy contact tracing should there be a need to do so, he said.
Drivers of public transport, including tricycles, have been required to wear facemasks by the city government. Sanctions await violators, Dacera said. (Rommel G. Rebollido / MindaNews)