Davao City to ease lockdown rules starting May 8 to allow non-residents to pick up stranded kin

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 03 May) —  The city government will ease its lockdown restrictions starting May 8 to  allow private vehicles entry for 12 hours to pick up relatives who have been stranded since the lockdown on March 19.

City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson, who is tasked to lead the Davao City Stranded Persons Database Center, said during her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5 on Saturday that the city government has yet to release the guidelines on granting a 12-hour passage to owners of private vehicles.

She said the decision to ease the lockdown restrictions came after the increasing number of calls from non-Davao residents to allow them to enter the city to pick up their relatives.

“This is intended for those who have private vehicles and want to enter Davao to get their relatives or friends in the city. We have drafted guidelines for that, which will be released soon,” she said.

A checkpoint has been put up in Buhangin. Davao City as the city strictly enforced the clustering of areas to control the movement of residents buying food and medicine. Buhangin District has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Davao City. MindaNews photo by ANTONIO L. COLINA IV

Asked how many days the 12-hour window will be allowed, Tecson said the city has not set a deadline but it will start on May 8.

She said the checkpoints of the city will be opened to private vehicles between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. but they must leave the city within 12 hours upon entry.

She said the local government is currently preparing a mechanism such as setting up processing areas to receive the drivers before they can proceed to their destinations in the city.

Doctors will be assigned at the processing areas in Lanang for vehicles passing through Bunawan, Lumondao checkpoint in Marilog for those entering through Bukidnon, and Toril checkpoint for those coming through Davao del Sur.

Soldiers belonging to Task Force Davao screen passengers at a checkpoint in Lasang, Davao City on 16 March 2020. Davao City has declared that it will not allow the entry of residents from Tagum City and Pantukan into the city and that it will be locking down its borders with the rest of Davao del Norte to prevent the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“There must be one driver and one assistant per vehicle and they cannot deviate from their intended route or pick-up address indicated in the confirmation letter from the city,” she said.

She said those who intend to enter the city must send their email addresses, plate number of the vehicle, name of the driver and assistant, and name and address of the stranded individuals to Davao City Stranded Persons Database Center’s text-only hotlines 0956-2441691 and 0951-0868056 or through email at davaocitystrandedpax@gmail.com.

She said vehicles could only enter and exit the city through their designated “entry and exit points.”

“When we receive your details, we will issue a confirmation letter to you with details of your entry point,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)