DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 Oct) – Public utility vehicles (PUVs) are exempted from the implementation of curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., which has been re-imposed to control the movement of people in Davao City for “non-essential” activities following the surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Mayor Sara Duterte said the PUVs – including tricycles, jeepneys, taxis, buses, and vans – could operate even during curfew hours in consideration of the concerns raised by workers on the necessity of public transport so that they could get a ride home from work.
“The PUVs can operate even during curfew. Of course, we will not force them to because it will depend on them if they want to operate or not, but they are exempted,” she said.
The mayor said the local government has also exempted agricultural and non-agricultural cargo vehicles, food delivery services, arriving and departing air travelers, and travelers who are passing through the city.
She said vendors, suppliers of fresh agricultural produce, and food business establishment owners are also exempted and are allowed to enter the market before 5 a.m.
Duterte said market-goers who need to buy fresh produce for household consumption are not covered by the exemption of curfew.
“Those who will just buy one or two whole fish and one piece of cabbage are not exempted,” she said.
Duterte maintained that the city government could not adjust the start of the curfew hours to 9 p.m. because local health authorities wanted to shorten the window of time when people are allowed to do non-essential activities, other than going to work, buying food and medicines, and going to the hospitals.
“We need a longer time where we can limit the non-essential activities because, based on our interview, these activities happen after 5 p.m. In fact, curfew was supposed to start at 5 p.m. but there was a consideration made for those who need to go to the market or grocery at 5 p.m. That’s why, the curfew starts at 7 p.m.,” she said.
Duterte reimposed curfew and liquor ban for the same period beginning October 15.
As of October 19, the Department of Health-Davao recorded 4,065 cases with 3,140 recoveries and 143 deaths.
Of these total cases, the city reported the most number of confirmed positives at 2,678 with 560 active cases.
The province of Davao de Oro reported 259 cases, Davao del Norte with 443, Davao del Sur with 289, Davao Occidental with 95, and Davao Oriental with 301.
“Unfortunately, we have 500 plus active cases, and this number is not good. So, what we are trying to do, and our goal is to reduce it to two digits – between 10 and 99. Hopefully, we can do that,” the mayor said.
She said the city government might reconsider the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people when the number of active cases would be brought down significantly. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)