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2 city mayors buck Albay GCQ status

LEGAZPI CITY--- Two city mayors in Albay province have strongly opposed the decision of Interagency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases(IATF-EID) in placing Albay province under the general community quarantine (GCQ) status starting May 1 to 15 due to the volatile situation and increasing numbers of patients positive with coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said he will ask the IATF to maintain Albay under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) after three new cases, two of them from Legazpi City, tested positive for Covid-19.These three new cases are all frontliners.

“We coordinated with DOH for them to appeal for IATF to exclude Legazpi City from GCQ and continue to place us under ECQ until May 15 because of volatile situation which might trigger the unprecedented spike of Covid-19 considering the high numbers of PUIs,” Rosal said.

Albay province has recorded five deaths due to Covid-19, three of them from Legazpi City. Thirty persons also tested positive in the province.

Rosal, concurrent chairperson of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Bicol region, said that he will request a meeting with Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara to discuss the pressing issues faced by mayors in the province.

“We would like to request for a meeting with the governor tomorrow. We really need to discuss the volatile situation in Albay particularly in Legazpi. We still have a lot of PUIs in ICR-BITANO, this is dangerous like what happened in Singapore. That means the suspects/probable will still be hit by Covid-19,” he said.

In Tabaco City, Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro shared Rosal’s sentiments after the death of one Covid-19 patient in her city on Sunday, Apr. 26.

Luistro said she will not follow the IATF resolution and will still maintain the ECQ in the city for precautionary measures.

“We will maintain ECQ for precautionary measures because we’re still doing the contact tracing of one of Covid-19 patient who died on Sunday. We will not join the GCQ on May 1 until after a new normal is not gradually done,” Luistro said.

Luistro said that she will convene the city council tomorrow for a meeting to discuss the vital issues they are facing considering the COVID positive in their locality.

She said that checkpoints will still be enforced including border closure in Tabaco City before a gradual and new normal will be adopted.

Meanwhile, Governor Bichara welcomed the GCQ proclamation. He said he is still waiting for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) GCQ guidelines.

Bichara said that with the effectivity of GCQ on May 1, Albayanos who are outside the province and wish to return home should contact or coordinate with Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (Apsemo). Those who are in Albay and want to go to other provinces should also do the same.

In an earlier resolution, the IATF placed Albay and Catanduanes under ECQ together with NCR and 23 other areas in the country. However, on Tuesday, Apr. 28, the IATF issued Resolution No. 29, which reclassified the two provinces from ECQ to GCQ from May 1 to 15.

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, supported the decisions of Rosal and Luistro opposing the GCQ.

“There is no data, science and economic logic to ECQ lifting for Albay. GCQ in May 1 is not good for us. God help us all. Protect us from IATF and its big mistakes,” Salceda said.

Salceda also said that the League of Mayors of the Philippines-Albay chapter opposed the GCQ due to increasing cases of Covid-19 positive and high numbers of PUIs across the province.

“College education can be postponed and recovered. But life can never be recovered,” he said.

The lawmaker statement was made while distributing 80 tons of dressed chicken in Legazpi City, 22 tons for the towns of Camalig and 43 tons in Daraga.

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