By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said local government chief executives in Western Visayas are lobbying with the Department of Interior and Local Government to require Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) to submit negative COVID-19 test results and register with the S-Pass and StaySafe Phils app upon arrival in the province.
Diaz said inbound travelers to Negros Occidental are mandated to comply with similar requirements as stipulated in the executive order issued by Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson that also adopted uniform health protocols set by the National Inter Agency Task Force for travelers.
“There are many instances where APORs create panic in communities, where they are being spared from check-up upon arrival, but later turned out to be positive for COVID-19,” Diaz further said,
He cited the case of an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government who was already infected with the virus when she attended the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council in Bacolod City months ago.
Diaz also cited the case of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who attended an activity in Dumaguete City with President Rodrigo Duterte, and unknown to him then, was already infected by the virus.
“We are susceptible to being infected and capable of infecting others. So why should we treat you differently,” Diaz said, referring to APORs.
APORs are being asked only to present travel orders and their identification during travel, he lamented.
As of March 15, Negros Occidental has 171 COVID-19 active cases, including 120 Locally Stranded Individuals, and 30 APORs, among others.
For the LGUs, Calatrava had the most number of active cases with 22, followed by San Carlos City with 15, while Don Salvador Benedicto and Candoni have zero active cases, according to a report of the Provincial Incident Management Team.
Diaz explained that many residents of Calatrava, San Carlos City, Toboso and Cadiz City – who are LSIs from Cebu, have been allowed to return to their homes where they are now under isolation at the Cadiz District Hospital healing center.
During the recent meeting of governors and mayors of Region 6, Diaz disclosed that the situation in Manila, where the number of COVID-19 cases is rising, is now being closely monitored.
If the situation turns from bad to worse, Diaz said “We might again stop travel from Manila to Bacolod.”