Governor, mayors want Albay under ECQ until May 15

LEGAZPI CITY – Albay mayors will soon hold a meeting to pass a resolution requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to revert the province's status from general community quarantine (GCQ) to enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by May 1 as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, in an interview on Wednesday, said he would meet with the 15 town and three city mayors to discuss the possible implications of having the province's status downgraded to GCQ next month as announced earlier by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“Albay residents have expressed their reluctance placing Albay under GCQ status. Their reactions include: the province is not yet ready; scary; dangerous, flatten the curve, doubts, and cases still increasing,” Bichara said.

He said he would discuss with the mayors the specific guidelines of the GCQ and how it would affect their campaign against Covid-19.

Bichara added that whether the quarantine status would be GCQ or ECQ, the local IATF would sustain the border closure, ECQ checkpoints, and implementation of protocols on curfew hours, social distancing, and mandatory wearing of face masks.

“For local residents from other Covid-19 affected areas, (they) would be allowed to return to their respective town provided they undergo 21 days quarantine period in designated town and provincial quarantine facilities,” he said.

Meanwhile, City Mayor Noel Rosal said he has discussed the matter with Libon town Mayor Das Maronilla, Albay League of Mayors president, Mayors Krisel Lagman Luistro of Tabaco City and Patricia Gonzalez-Alsua of Ligao City, and they have prepared a joint resolution asking the Bicol IATF to request IATF-EID to revert Albay's quarantine status from GCQ to ECQ until May 15.

“Reasons for the reversion of the status include: spikes on Covid-19 cases, health preventive measure indicate that it has not yet flattened the curve, thus additional time needed possibly until May 15; GCQ would only trigger an uncontrollable gathering of people (21-59 age) in public places,” he added. (By Mar Serrano, PNA)