GenSan to continue with control measures vs COVID-19

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 May) – The city government could further ease movement restrictions and open up more businesses in the coming days but it will not be totally lifting the control measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) once the general community quarantine (GCQ) ends on May 15.

This, as Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Wednesday they appealed to the national government to reconsider the removal of the community quarantine in the area on May 16 as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The IATF issued the recommendation on Monday through Resolution No. 35 after declaring the entire Region 12 or Soccsksargen as among the low-risk areas in the country for COVID-19.

Rivera said other local government leaders in the region pushed for the same appeal during the regional IATF meeting on Wednesday morning.

He said they specifically sought for the placement of the area under modified GCQ, a move reportedly supported initially by the national government.

“It was explained to us that we will be actually under modified GCQ. We’re already working on that while waiting for further announcements from the national [IATF],” Rivera said.

Under a modified GCQ, he said the local government may ease up on some of the restrictions “a little bit more,” among them the opening of its borders with Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces as well as access to the city’s central business district.

But he said the border monitoring will still be tight to prevent the entry of people from areas that have recorded sustained local transmission of COVID-19, especially those in Davao Region.

Public transportation may be allowed to resume but only limited to routes within the region, he said.

The mayor said they will likely sustain the 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew, clustering of the barangays, odd-even scheme for private motor vehicles and the total lockdown every Sunday but on a “more relaxed mode.”

He said they will consider allowing the conduct of religious activities, including church services and other related gatherings, but strict physical distancing and mandatory wearing of protective gears like face masks should be observed.

Rivera said other businesses that were previously barred under the enhanced community quarantine and the GCQ may also be allowed to reopen, subject to the assessment of the city’s IATF on COVID-19.

These will be finalized through an executive order that will be issued before the end of the GCQ on May 15, he added. (MindaNews)