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Guv: Our hands are tied on new travel protocols

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson has instructed Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz to meet with public transport groups to inform them that the rule requiring all passengers from Negros Oriental entering Negros Occidental to have negative RT-PCR results for COVID-19 must be enforced.

The meeting will be held to thresh out how to enforce the rule, he said.

They must have negative RT-PCR results valid for 72 hours from the date of swab sample extraction and an S-Pass, and must be registered with StaySafe.PH, he said.

The borders between Negros Occidental and Oriental were previously closed.

Under his EO 21-18, Series of 2021 adopting the salient points of the uniform travel protocols under national Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution 101, Lacson said all passengers entering Negros Occidental, except for those from Western Visayas, will be required negative RT-PCR test results before entering the province.

Border checkpoints will remain between Negros Occidental and Oriental to ensure compliance with EO 21-18, he said.

Kabankalan City and San Carlos City can continue to allow 12-hour visits from residents of Mabinay, Vallehermoso, and Canlaon City, Lacson also said.

Requiring passengers entering Negros Occidental negative RT-PC test results prior to their departure from their point of origin is the only recourse the provincial government has, Lacson said, amid reports of rising COVID-19 cases in other areas of the country.

We would have preferred to maintain our procedure requiring them to be tested and quarantined on arrival in Negros Occidental until their negative test results are out, he said, but Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya has threatened them with a show-cause order for non-compliance with IATF Resolution 1O1.

“Our hands are tied really,” he said.*

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