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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As thousands of Metro Manila residents scramble to leave before the big city goes on a lockdown to prevent the onslaught of the novel coronavirus, nearby areas are also stepping up their defenses.
The local governments of Negros Occidental, Lanao del Sur, and Olongapo City have issued similar directives designating as “persons under monitoring” (PUM) all travellers from Metro Manila arriving in their areas.
Because they are marked PUM, all arrivals to Lanao del Sur, Negros Occidental and Olongapo are required to undergo 14-day home quarantines.
Termed by government officials as a “community quarantine”, the lockdown in Metro Manila starts 12 midnight of March 15, Sunday. (READ: What we know so far: The Metro Manila coronavirus lockdown)
It will restrict all “non-essential” land, air, and sea travel from the capital region to any point in the country. (READ: Questions Filipinos are asking about the coronavirus lockdown)
Bracing for the exodus and doubling efforts to contain the transmission of the novel coronavirus, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson implemented his quarantine order starting Saturday, March 14.
Lacson issued an executive order adopting unified protocols on the border and intra-province control for COVID-19 Friday night, March 13.
In the order, the governor said that all passengers from Manila will undergo the 14-day home quarantine as supervised by the Provincial Health Office in coordination with the Component City Health Office or Municipal Health Office where the PUM resides.
Lacson said, “We have to be responsible Negrenses. If we are not, it may be your relatives who will get sick with COVID-19, and that is precisely what we are trying to avoid.”
“While this is voluntary, Let’s all be responsible, and make this small sacrifice, because the net effect is, if COVID-19 comes in, then we will have a bigger problem,” he added.
In Olongapo CIty, Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr. on Saturday said all persons coming from Metro Manila and those who came from other countries will be immediately considered PUMs and placed in 14-day quarantines.
The Olongapo COVID-19 Task Force headed by Paulino and City Health Officer Dr. Rodrick Bustamante said two persons in the city are now categorized as persons under investigation (PUI), while 51 are PUMs
The mayor said they have set up an isolation facility in front of James L Gordon Memorial Hospital and another in Parolla area in Barangay Kalaklan.
“Rest assured that the local task force will remain vigilant and continue to implement all precautionary measures to fight COVID-19,” Paulino said in a statement.
Victory Liner continues service
As this developed, giant bus company Victory Liner said it would continue transporting cargo and passengers to and from Zambales .
Pocholio Galian, the company’s provincial branch manager, said they would now require all passengers to fill up an information form (Name, Contact No., Address, Date of Trip, Time of Trip, Seat No.) to comply with a memorandum of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
“The use of government issued ID for verification is encouraged to verify the information provided by the passenger,” Galian said.
He said, Victory Liner was temporarily disabling it online booking facility and advance booking. “Passengers are advised to buy their bus tickets on the day of their desired trip from our ticket booth or from the conductor. Passengers who will rebook their tickets may just proceed to the terminal on the day they want to travel,” said Galian.
Meanwhile, Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adioing, Jr said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) was deployed in Laguindingan Airport to help in the contact tracing of residents returning home to the province. Those from Metro Manila will be informed to undergoing monitored quarantine as the province considers them PUMs.
Laguindingan Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental serves the Northern Mindanao region including some parts of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
“Arriving Meranao passengers will be requested to fill-out a form to indicate their point of origin, as well as, their succeeding destinations in Mindanao,” Adioing Jr., said. – Rappler.com