Bzzzzz: Gwen on bakeshops and malls; 3 cities’ pact and Capitol policy on entry

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[1] BONGBONG MARCOS ‘RECOVERING’ FROM COVID-19. A statement from his spokesman said the former senator and candidate for vice president in the 2016 elections is “getting better” while being treated at an unspecified “isolation area.”

Bongbong received the result of his test last Saturday, March 28.

[2] LIST OF CEBU CITY BARANGAYS AND THEIR MONITORED CASES. Being circulated in social media is a purported list of barangays in the city with the number of persons under monitoring for coronavirus. The list, however, is not sourced to any known agency, office or organization. Name of the barangay with the highest number of PUMs (100) starts with a “K.” Note that the cases are still monitored, not confirmed, not even suspected yet.

Governor’s appeal

In two public addresses already, Sunday and Tuesday, March 29 and 31, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia singled out bakeshops, malls/department stores and call centers as establishments that need to provide lodging in Cebu City where they work so that their workers who reside outside the city don’t have to commute to the “probinsya” and possibly infect the residents there.

Existing executive orders of local governments exempt them from the “stay-home” requirement and travel ban but the governor doesn’t want them to keep commuting to and from a city or town in the province and increase the risk of infection in the areas of Cebu City. Her suggested solution: their respective companies will billet them at the management’s expense.

Bakeshops top her list. The governor said they are profiting from the crisis and all that is asked of them is to reduce their margin of profit “a little.” Anyway, it is just for the duration of the crisis, she said.

She didn’t name the recalcitrant malls. But by mentioning the names of the malls that “cooperated” with her, in effect she identified the malls that did not. The call centers have provided sleeping quarters for their employees, she said.

No need for ECQ pass

Announced Monday, March 30, the rule in Cebu City is that individuals exempted from the ban on travel do not need an ECQ (enhanced community quarantine pass) to enter the city.

“The local governments of Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Capitol have agreed,” Labella said, that persons exempted from the travel ban would not have to present any ECQ pass. What are needed are their work or affiliation ID and probably (not mentioned by Labella) their employer’s certification.

Can they reenter province?

Getting out of a city or town within the boundaries of Cebu province has not been a problem to the Capitol. What is still not clear is whether those who get into Cebu City can reenter the city or town where they came from.

It’s the question whether people from Cebu City getting into Cebu Province, not persons getting out of the province, that has bugged Capitol and other LGUs.

When Mayor Labella told a press-con Monday that no ECQ pass is needed for commuting into Cebu, presumably that rule applies to travelers who come from the province, enter Cebu City for their work, and return after work. But would the Province, through its LGUs at the borders, allow reentry?

It seems there are many people who live near Cebu City, their place of work, and their residence is outside the city’s borders but still within short commuting distance. There are also workers whose work, covered by the exemption, requires constant crossing of borders in the north through Mandaue City and the south through Talisay City.

’Reciprocity’ agreement

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, however, was reported (by CDN Digital) to have addressed a memo to police chief Colonel Jonathan Abella, saying the three cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have agreed they would “respect the protocols and guidelines stipulated in their respective executive orders.” Each of the three cities will honor the guidelines of the other LGUs, including the quarantine and border passes or the non-requirement for them.

How would that affect the Capitol policy? The governor’s executive order will depend for enforcement on each LGU within its territorial jurisdiction. In this case, Mandaue City, which guards the north border, is a component city although highly urbanized. And through their mayors, Mandaue already forged that reciprocity pact with Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City, the two independent cities.

Clear orders for police

Broadcaster Jason Monteclar, interviewing Cebu City Councilor Raymond Garcia Monday, March 30, indicated that mixed signals from the different LGUs may contribute to the confusion of some police members at checkpoints.

“Different sets of border rules imposed by LGUs (are enforced) thru one PNP,” Jason said. Meaning, only one checkpoint at the points of entry and exit, not separate checkpoint for each of the LGUs that are adjacent to the border.

If the rules are not uniform, that may stump the guards. In the case of Cebu City workers shuttling between the city and the province, Cebu City Hall would allow their entry into the city but would Capitol allow their reentry into the province?

With the three cities agreeing on a free travel flow of people covered by the exemptions under their respective executive orders while Capitol policy allows only exit from the province, not entry or reentry, which would the police follow?

Mandaue police chief Abella got a memo from Mayor Cortes but he must have also gotten a copy of the governor’s executive order.

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