South Cotabato to allow reopening of more businesses, industries

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 May) – More businesses and industries in South Cotabato province will be allowed to resume their operations starting Saturday, May 16, as part of the second phase of the reopening of economic activities in the area.

Fruit stalls along the highway in Tupi, South Cotabato. MindaNews file photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

The move was based on Executive Order No. 27 issued on Friday by South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. that extended the implementation of the modified general community quarantine (GCQ) in the entire province until May 31 due to the continuing threats posed by the 2019 coronavirus disease or COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor said manufacturing and export-related activities, non-leisure wholesale and retail trade as well as related services, including those inside shopping malls, will be allowed to operate at full or 100 percent capacity.

These cover businesses engaged in the production of wearing apparel, cooking pots and electronics, and the trading of clothes, personal effects, household appliances and furniture.

Also allowed to fully reopen were businesses and activities that were permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity starting last May 1 such as construction support industries; banks and other financial services; business process outsourcing; machinery and equipment repair/installation; motor vehicle repair; laundry services; veterinary services; manpower recruitment and placement; computer and appliance repair; building and landscape services; and, rental and leasing activities.

The provincial government initially allowed the full and partial reopening last May 1 of a range of businesses

such as shopping malls, barber shops, clinics and commercial establishments following the lifting of the nearly two-month enhanced community quarantine.

Tamayo said all businesses that were required to reopen were mandated to observe required health and safety protocols, and will be closely monitored by the local government.

“The observance of physical and social distancing should be observed at all times and the wearing of face masks is mandatory for everyone,” he said in a press conference.

During the extended GCQ, he said the movement restrictions for residents will remain in effect, especially those aged below 21-years old, 60-years old and above, pregnant women and other people considered vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

He said non-essential and frontline workers were only allowed to go out of their homes to access basic necessities and services.

The province-wide curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. will be sustained while all large or mass gatherings, including religious services and related activities, were still prohibited, he said.

Tamayo added that the province’s borders will remain closed to all non-essential travels and public transportation will only be allowed for routes within the 10 municipalities and lone city.

“We are continually evaluating our situation in coordination with concerned stakeholders to ensure that we will not compromise the safety of our people as we reopen our economy,” he said.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the province’s confirmed COVID-19 cases remained at three and all have already recovered from the disease.

A report released by the Department of Health-Region 12 said at least 12 suspect COVID-19 cases were still admitted in a hospital in the province but it has zero active probable cases so far.

A total of 15 suspect COVID-19 deaths were already recorded in the area but 14 of them have tested negative while one was still awaiting laboratory confirmation. (MindaNews)