Western Visayas officials asked the National Task Force Against Covid-19 on Thursday, April 8, to extend the moratorium on all travel into Western Visayas until April 17 with the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in the region.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told DIGICAST NEGROS he sent a letter to Secretary Carlito Galvez, NTF chief implementer, to convey the consensus of the WV officials in a Zoom meeting Thursday morning.
Treñas told Galvez the entire region is requesting that all incoming flights, sea voyages and land travel from Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, Cebu and Davao transporting returning residents and Authorized Persons Outside Residence to WV be temporarily suspended for another seven days from April 11 to 17.
The requested suspension does not apply to returning overseas Filipino workers who will be granted unhampered access, Treñas said.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said they requested for the extension on the travel moratorium because “We are all anxious that the spike is happening all over Western Visayas.”
“We are very concerned of the possibility that a new variant of COVID-19 may have caused the spread in our region, so we hope for the understanding and support of the public. And we hope the National IATF will act on this immediately,” he said.
“This is a move to protect ourselves in Bacolod and Western Visayas”, Leonardia said.
Treñas pointed out that areas in WV that had previously kept COVID-19 cases at a minimum are already experiencing unprecedented numbers of local transmissions at a rapid rate.
“While we empathize with the plight of our fellowmen desiring to travel to the region, it is imperative that we learn to make difficult choices to serve the greater good,” he said.
Treñas also conveyed to Galvez the requests of the VW officials for additional allocation of vaccines, and for equal access for local chief executives and members of local Inter-Agency Task Forces to the reclassified vaccination priority list.
“With the current swelling of cases, time is of the essence and it would be of invaluable help if the national government recognizes our dire need to inoculate as many people as possible,” the mayor said.
“At the current rate of the vaccine rollout, we are still left with as significant number of healthcare frontliners who have not yet been vaccinated,” he said.*