Labella: No citywide lockdown

·3 min read

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella is not keen on ordering another citywide lockdown should the number of Covid-19 cases in the city continue to go up.

If the need arises, Labella said, Cebu City will enforce granular lockdowns, but only after consultation with the health and law enforcement sectors.

“When you speak of granular lockdowns, it could only be a lockdown on the street. It could only be a lockdown of a family. It could only be a lockdown of a sitio. So that depends on the situation,” said Labella in a press conference on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.

Labella’s statement came a day after Councilor Joel Garganera, chief implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), warned that Cebu City residents may end up celebrating Christmas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the city’s Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

“I would like to remind our people in the EOC, there should be less talk and more work,” Labella said.

“Anybody can express his opinion, and that’s his opinion. So be it if that’s his opinion. But it is the mayor who has the final say, and it is the mayor who will issue the lockdown under our setup of government,” said Labella, adding that he had nothing against Garganera.

Garganera shrugged off Labella’s statement when sought for comment.

“I will not be doing justice if I had to defend EOC. There’s nothing to defend. You be the judge,” said Garganera.

Second wave

Garganera fears a second wave of infections with the steady rise in Covid-19 cases in the past seven days.

In a news conference Thursday, he announced that the city may again be placed under ECQ before the end of November if the public continues to violate quarantine protocol.

Garganera issued the warning as the EOC noted that more people were going out of their homes and violating health protocols.

The EOC is composed of representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Army, Coast Guard, Cebu Port Authority, and Philippine Maritime Police.

The DOH Central Visayas recorded 28 new cases in Cebu City on Nov. 11. It was later found that only 26 cases were actually from Cebu City, as the two others were residents of

Lapu-Lapu City.

Based on the DOH data, Cebu City has 10,361 Covid-19 cases as of Nov. 12, 2020 with 9,483 recoveries and 682 mortalities. There are 196 active cases remaining.

Labella said majority of the recent cases or 88 percent are transients or individuals that had been to other areas before coming to Cebu City.

So Labella may again impose strict border control measures.

“We are seriously considering that. We will strengthen our capability, and maybe we will reinforce our border control because Cebu City is a peculiar place unlike other local governments that have only one pier,” Labella added.

Business reaction

Meanwhile, business leaders are happy with Labella’s pronouncement that there will be no need for a citywide lockdown even if the number of Covid-19 cases go up.

“We need people to move to look for a living. We are all affected, but not all are infected,” Rey Calooy, Filipino-Cebuano Business Club (FilCeb) chairman told SunStar Cebu.

FilCeb supports a granular lockdown should there be a need.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam also said granular lockdowns have been proven to be successful.

“I am encouraging everyone to just follow our health protocols. Let’s not forget the bad experience we had last June for the benefit of all so we may all have a good and safe Christmas,” Taguiam said. / JJL, JOB, PAC / JKV