By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – “COVID-19 has not left yet.”
Mayor Evelio Leonardia emphasized this point to the leaders of local transport groups in a virtual dialog in light of the sudden surge of COVID-19 cases in Bacolod City.
Leonardia together with the city’s Inter-Agency Task Force chair Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) executive director City Administrator Em Ang, Councilor Dindo Ramos, who is the chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Transportation, and other city officials discussed the regulation of public transportation and the stricter implementation of minimum health protocols in the transport sector for their safety and that of the riding public.
Leonardia said these measures are not only geared towards protecting the health of public transport operators and drivers, but also to help them maintain their livelihoods amid the surge of cases.
“Cities are normally the epicenters of the virus because of the dense population. The larger the population, the greater is the chance or possibility of the virus transmission,” the mayor stressed.
“The last time we had a big figure for positive cases in a day – which was 40 – was way back on November 8, 2020. Since then, over the past 3 months, we were able to bring down our cases per day to only 2 to 3, or even zero. Under such situation, people might have assumed that COVID-19 is not here anymore or have forgotten that COVID hasn’t left yet.”
Leonardia emphasized that the situation had changed over the last 2 weeks where the City is seeing a new surge that has averaged more than 20 cases per day.
This development is a clear cause for alarm, the mayor added.
Ramos, who is also the chair of the Economic Stimulus Team, urged the operators and drivers to strictly comply with the regulations and health protocols.
“Let’s obey the health protocols, not because we are afraid of police officers, or because the mayor orders it; we have to do it because we need to protect ourselves and our families,” Ramos said.
“Despite the fact that there is a risk of transmitting the virus through high mobility of people, our mayor, vice mayor, and city administrator understand the need to protect your direct livelihood and to bring food to your tables.”
According to Ramos, the drivers and operators are also a big help in reminding the commuting public to always wear face masks and face shields.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Election Bacolod will be closed until April 12, 2021 for disinfection after seven of its staff and a utility worker tested positive of COVID-19. (With a report from City PIO)