Bukidnon governor lifts lockdown order

Bobby Lagsa
Bukidnon governor lifts lockdown order
To jumpstart the province’s stalled economy, Governor Jose Maria Zubiri allows the gradual opening of establishments, offices, and other activities. However, non-residents are still barred from entering the province.

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri has lifted the enhanced community quarantine in the province after an executive order placing it under lockdown lapsed at midnight of Sunday, April 26.

Zubiri issued Executive Order No. 20 on April 13, locking down the entire province after health officials confirmed a COVID-19 case in Valencia City. (READ: Bukidnon enters lockdown after first coronavirus case)

The patient was identified as Lumbayao Barangay Captain Nelson Cabaluna who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the Araw ng Davao National Cock Derby on March 13 at Matina Gallera.

On Monday, April 27, Bukidnon is effectively under a general quarantine status, by virtue of Zubiri’s EO 21.

The new EO’s guidelines put emphasis on gradually opening the province’s economic activities.

“Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s national address dated April 24, 2020, he classified the province of Bukidnon as a low-risk area to remain under general community quarantine,” Zubiri said. (READ: Metro Manila, other ‘high-risk’ Luzon areas to remain on lockdown)

While the general public is now allowed to go out to purchase basic necessities, the following precautionary measures remain in place:

  • High-risk populations ages 0-20 and 60 and up must remain at home
  • Persons aged 21 years old but below 60 years old who reside with people with co-morbidities or other risk factors shall stay at home
  • Everyone is urged to wear face masks in all places outside their residence
  • Strict social distancing shall be observed at all times for the duration of the general community quarantine, in accordance with national guidelines and health advisories
  • Mass gatherings and religious activities are still prohibited.

Zubiri had earlier told Rappler that the province earmarked P700 million for its coronavirus assistance fund and to cushion the lockdown’s impact on the economy. (READ: Northern Mindanao LGUs prepare P1.2B in relief, economic aid amid outbreak)

The food assistance to nearly 100,000 households consisted of 50 kilos of rice and other canned goods.

Zubiri said that the provincial coffers are only left with just some P150 million.

Jumpstart economy

Agriculture, food manufacturing, and its entire supply chain, grocery stores, convenience stores, and sari-sari stores, health care, logistics, telecommunications, water, energy, internet providers, delivery and take out for food retail, and media shall remain open.

“Other business and industries, such as production, manufacturing, construction, quarrying, e-commerce, delivery, repair services, maintenance and housing may resume operations, provided that they observe the minimum prescribed standards on social distancing and other precautionary measures,” Zubiri said.

To ensure sufficient food supply across the country, all agricultural activities will continue.

Finance, business process outsourcing (BPO), non-leisure trade, and other similar services can operate with a skeleton force. 

The following are still prohibited from opening:

  • barbershops and beauty parlors/salons
  • massage clinics and spas
  • cinemas and movie houses
  • bars and KTVs
  • leisure and gaming
  • indoor and outdoor sports facilities
  • playgrounds
  • resorts, swimming pools
  • parks, tourism sites and other recreational facilities
  • cockpits
  • billiard halls
  • gyms

“I leave it to the Local Government Units the authority to decide which non-essential establishments and offices shall not be allowed to resume operation and I asked the LGUs to issue [their] advisory,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri added that there will be a team that will do random checks, observance,  and inspection on LGUs if they follow the implementation of the safety precautionary measures.

Zubiri also said that the community quarantine checkpoints will remain operational and non-residents are still barred from entering the province. 

Valencia City opens

Bukidnon’s largest city, Valencia, is also trying to open up its economy following Zubiri’s lead.

Mayor Azucena Huerbas issued EO 36 extending the general community quarantine (GCQ) in the city and provided guidelines for the gradual reopening of its economy.

The EO also lifted the enhanced community quarantine on Barangay Lumbayao.

Wearing face masks in public places, physical distancing, disinfection, and the temperature check are still mandatory, and Valencia City’s liquor ban and curfew between 8pm to 5am remain in effect.

Huerbas ordered a flexible 4-day work week in both public and private companies.

Essential businesses are still open, while schools are subject to Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) guidelines and regulations.

Private and public transportations can operate but passengers can occupy only half of every vehicle’s full capacity. Motorcycles are now allowed one passenger from the same household.

“I would like the public to know that this is still not the end of the COVID-19, for in our city, in spite the efforts of our frontliners. This is not the end, we are still facing so many challenges,” Huerbas said.

Huerbas said that she is aware that there are complaints from residents on how the city government implements the guidelines.

“What we are doing is for the best… we are keeping tab of every national guidelines issued, all of these we can surmount if we will all cooperate. [Coronavirus] cannot be seen. This is our enemy, that is why we always prepare,” Huerbas said. – Rappler.com