Border lockdown in Region 12 stays until July 31

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 May) – Border highways and other entry routes in Region 12 or Soccsksargen will remain on lockdown in the next two months due to the continuing threats posed by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Thursday the Soccsksargen Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) on COVID-19 has decided to implement the border lockdown until the end of July as control measure against the disease.

Region 12 or Soccsksargen. Map courtesy of Google

He said the region has a standing approval until July 31 from the national IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (MEID) to close its borders.

“We will still not allow passenger buses and other public utility vehicles, and ordinary people to come in and out of the region,” he told reporters.

The mayor said other local chief executives in the region agreed during the RIATF meeting on Wednesday that the border lockdown was necessary due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 in other areas, especially in Davao region.

In the meeting, the RIATF passed a resolution seeking the extension of the ongoing general community quarantine (GCQ) in the area after it ends on Friday, May 15.

The IATF-MEID has recalled its earlier recommendation on the lifting of the community quarantine in eight regions, including Soccsksargen, that were classified as low-risk areas for COVID-19, and instead placed them under modified GCQ starting May 16.

Rivera said they were still waiting for the guidelines on the measure, which will serve as basis of his new executive order.

He said they will hold a legislative-executive forum on Friday to discuss the modified GCQ measures and other initiatives of the city’s IATF on COVID-19.

Under a modified GCQ, he said the city government will continue to implement the clustering of barangays, curfew, odd-even scheme for private vehicles and total lockdown every Sunday but on a “more relaxed mode.”

The mayor added that they have considered easing the movement of residents from the neighboring provinces of Sarangani and South Cotabato but they have yet to decide whether to allow intra-regional travel for public utility vehicles. (MindaNews)