DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 09 May) — Digos City mayor Josef Cagas wants to place the city under an Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) again for at least 15 days to ensure his constituents’ protection from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The city is now under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
In a virtual presser with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) XI on Wednesday, the mayor said he will write Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año to request him to exempt the city from the implementation of the GCQ.
Digos City has been under GCQ since April 28. But Cagas noted that there has been an influx of people going outside of their residences and people coming into the city that it would seem it had returned to the “old normal.”
“We have observed that there are many people going outside….That is why we informed the public through our media outlets, the social media, and we even reached out to the different barangays to inform the public on what should be observed during the General Community Quarantine or the new normal,” Cagas said.
He said it would be good if they could be given at least 15 days under ECQ for them to strictly enforce measures on the entry of vehicles and people.
But he acknowledged that “this move may run counter with DILG directives” but he will write Secretary Año to state “all the reasons why we will be strict at the borders because of these new developments,”
He added there is still a need to intensify protocols in preventing COVID-19 from infecting residents in the city, given that it is “a melting pot” where people from various places in the region enter or pass through.
He said there was an increase in the number of people entering the city to attend to their various business transactions since the ECQ was lifted in favor of the GCQ.
“This is a converging city, which is why right now, I would want to ask for an exemption because I want to return (the city) back to enhanced community quarantine,” Cagas said.
The mayor said they are now studying how to control the flow of people coming in and out of Digos City, particularly from areas in the region with COVID-19 cases, stressing that it is also a challenge for the local government to just close down its borders as the city lies in the middle of the region where vehicles coming from different areas pass through its national highways.
“I cannot assure that all of our borders will be able to secure that those who will be entering the city are really free from COVID-19,” he said.
Vehicles bound for Cotabato City and General Santos City from Davao City pass through Digos City in Davao del Sur.
Digos City had one of two COVID-19 cases in the province. The other COVID-19 positive in Davao del Sur was from Matanao town. Both went to the “Araw ng Davao celebration 6-cock Derby” at the New Davao Matina Gallera in Davao City between March 7 and 12. The two have recovered.
Digos City’s neighbor, Davao City, has 143 cases out of the Davao region’s 161 cases as of May 7 while another neighbor, Davao Occidental has one case who did not survive the disease. (Warren Elijah E. Valdez / MindaNews)