Lockdown on Davao Region’s borders to continue despite lifting of ECQ

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 April) – The borders of Davao Region will remain on lockdown even though other provinces would shift from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ).

Davao Region. Map courtesy of Google

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 on Tuesday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the concurrent chair of Davao Region COVID-19 Task Force, said the leaders of the region would sustain the lockdown as a measure to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“In our region, our borders are still on lockdown. Very few, and only under ‘extremely special circumstances,’ are allowed to enter in our region. But it’s mainly closed,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) initially identified Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro as “high-risk areas” in Mindanao, recommending the extension of ECQ until May 15.

But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Tuesday that the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro were stricken off the list of high-risk areas and may proceed instead with the implementation of GCQ starting May 1.

The Davao Region, which recorded a total of 129 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, the highest in Mindanao, comprises the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Davao Occidental, and the chartered City of Davao.

Except for Davao City, other provinces in the region have not recorded new cases for several weeks.

Duterte, however, said that Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Uy would sustain the ECQ until May 15. The decision to shift to GCQ or sustain ECQ in provinces not in the high-risk list of the IATF-MEID is left to their respective provincial governors, according to Duterte.

The borders of Davao City have been on lockdown since March 19. No person or vehicle are being allowed to enter Davao Region except for cargo vehicles with one driver and two assistants carrying animals, vegetables, and all other food and non-food commodities but not dead human bodies.

The regional task force required the cargo vehicles to “not deviate from its declared destination in the region and must swiftly load and unload cargo, and must never carry passengers.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)