DavOr to open borders from June 1

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) – Davao Oriental will allow the entry of all public and private vehicles as well as individuals from other areas starting June 1.

This came after Governor Nelson Dayanghirang and the mayors of the province agreed on the policies and health measures to be imposed for the opening of provincial borders.

A vendor displays a basket made of rattan strips at a souvenir shop along the highway in San Isidro, Davao Oriental on Friday, 27 December 2019. MINDANEWS PHOTO

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who chairs the Regional Task Force for COVID-19 in Davao region, had earlier asked the mayors and governors of the region to ease travel restrictions as the area has been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ).

The Omnibus Guidelines issued by the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases last May 22 mandates the opening of borders of all GCQ areas.

Dayanghirang said they “need to follow what is mandated under the law.”

“We will not impede the movement of people coming in and out of our province,” he said.

But he added that they have to set screening protocols to protect their people.

He noted planned measures are necessary because they expect many people to enter the province once it opens its borders.

On Wednesday, the governor issued Executive Order No. 25, Series of 2020 prescribing the “strengthened health screening measures at all provincial border entry points and terminals in the province of Davao Oriental.”

The order required all individuals entering Davao Oriental to fill out an “embarkation form” which can be downloaded from the province’s Facebook page. It is also available at all border entry points, terminals and screening points set up by local government units.

“With the influx of returning residents and passengers availing of both public and private transportation, it is imperative to ensure that minimum health standards are observed, health screening protocols are implemented for returning residents and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” it added.

Meanwhile, Provincial Task Force on COVID-19 action officer Dr. Reden Bersaldo said that with these measures there is a “slim chance” for suspect COVID-19 cases to come in undetected.

“All our policies involve screening at the border and terminals. With this strategy, if there are COVID suspects, we can isolate them right away – whether (for) home quarantine or isolation at the barangay isolation units or community quarantine centers. Then, we will test them,” he added.

He said the province has procured 11,000 sets of test kits.

The task force official acknowledged the possibility that some of the people who would enter the province once it opens its borders could be carriers of the contagious disease.

“That’s why before someone will test positive, we will do the necessary steps to really contain people. That’s why everybody who comes in should be tracked. By containing them, we will decrease the chance of local transmission,” he said. (Warren Elijah E. Valdez/MindaNews)