Bukidnon locks down its borders

Bobby Lagsa
Bukidnon locks down its borders
Bukidnon Governor Joe Zubiri's closure order disregards an offer for unified Northern Mindanao checkpoints


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri ordered Friday, March 20, the closure of the borders of his province, in complete disregard of a proposal from the mayor of this city for unified checkpoints.

The governor’s complete lockdown bars everyone from entering or leaving Bukidnon, except for humanitarian workers and government workers whose purpose is related to the prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier Friday, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno asked the different political leaders in the region to organize unified checkpoints for a wider community quarantine of Northern Mindanao.  Aside from Bukidnon, Moreno reached out to officials of Misamis Oriental.

Moreno raised his proposal because Cagayan de Oro was the de facto regional capital of Northern Mindanao.

In an announcement, Zubiri said he would close Bukidnon’s border effective midnight of Saturday, March 21 until further notice.

“We are now enforcing (a ban to) the  entry of any person that is not a resident of the province. Non-residents are only up to the borders of the province,” Zubiri said in an announcement issued in Bisaya dialect.

“This is in line with the strenghtening of the current Community Quarantine that is meant to prevent the spread of Covid19,” Zubiri said.

The announcement allows the entry of its residents, humanitarian workers, health workers responding to emergencies, government officials and employees whose travels are directly related to the prevention of the spread of the virus.

People who are carrying food and medical supplies, and government employees of Bukidnon who are on official travel will be exempted.

“These persons, before entering the province will have to show proof of identification at quarantine and border checkpoints of the province,” Zubiri said. 

Earlier, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, son of the Bukidnon governor, tested positive of the coronavirus. 

Previously, 2 women being probed for  COVID-19 died on Wednesday, March 18, within 24 hours after they were brought to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) in Cagayan de Oro from different hospitals in the region.

On March 14, Mindanao recorded its first COVID-19 death, a 54-year-old native of Marawi City who moved to Pasig City following the Marawi siege in 2017. The man was confined at the NMCC in Cagayan de Oro City.

As of Friday, the Philippines has 230 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 8 recoveries and 18 deaths.

The global death toll, meanwhile, has reached 10,316, with 3,405 of the fatalities in Italy and 3,248 in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to 246,440, with 80,976 cases in China and 41,035 cases in Italy. The virus has spread to 161 countries. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

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