Fastcraft vessels plying the Bacolod-Iloilo City route stopped operations Tuesday, August 3.
The halt came a day ahead of an order of Mayor Jerry Treñas temporarily suspending all inbound air and sea travel to Iloilo City, which is under Enhanced Community Quarantine, from August 4 to 8.
Treñas told DIGICAST NEGROS he is imposing a “hard lockdown” to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases in Iloilo City.
Capt. Ludovico Librilla Jr., Coast Guard Station – Negros Occidental commander, said travel between Iloilo and Bacolod cities will be halted until August 8.
However, they have not received any instructions for the halt of roll-on-roll-off vessels plying the Bacolod City-Guimaras in Iloilo province route, he said.
Frank Carbon, Weesam Express consultant, said they halted operations Tuesday because the RT-PCR test requirement of Bacolod-bound travelers prior to departure from Iloilo City had drastically reduced their passengers. One trip only had seven passengers, he said, adding that the situation is very bad for the economy.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has issued an order requiring inbound passengers from Panay, where the COVID-19 Delta variant has been detected, and other parts of the country to present COVID-19 negative RT PCR test results.
Carbon, who is also chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, issued an appeal to Leonardia in behalf of the business sector and the shipping lines to amend his executive order regulating travel of persons from Panay Island to Bacolod.
Persons from Panay with no negative RT-PCR tests results should be allowed to enter Bacolod City provided they submit to mandatory swab tests on arrival, he said.
He pointed out that the Bacolod City government already has a swab and go protocol at the BREDCO Port in Bacolod, which would save passengers from paying for expensive RT-PCR tests from the Panay end.
Carbon also suggested that instead of the S-PaSS Travel Coordination Permit, a letter of acceptance from the barangay of destination be allowed.*