BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has signed Executive Order No. 73 series of 2020, effectively putting the city under Modified General Community Quarantine from 1 to 31 December 2020.
The EO came on the heels of President Duterte’s declaration putting the city under MGCQ. The MGCQ is the lowest quarantine status before going to the “new normal”.
The following are the salient points of the EO:
HOME QUARANTINE RULES
All other people can now be allowed to go outside their residences, provided that minimum health standards and protocols including those cites in previous EOs are strictly observed. On the other hand, vulnerable sectors are still required to remain indoors at all times unless indispensable like in obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in permitted industries and offices, and for other activities permitted in the Omnibus Guidelines.
These vulnerable sectors are persons below 15 years old; those who are over sixty-five (65) years of age; those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities, or other health risks, and pregnant women.
A daily curfew shall be observed by the general public from 11:00 P.M. until 4:00 A.M. as stated in Section 3 of City Ordinance No. 934, Series of 2020. Exemptions to these are workers on night shifts, public emergencies like fire/ambulance services/other occasions caused by disaster/calamity, and those requiring medical assistance on board PUVs or private vehicles. Curfew hours may also be adjusted at any time within the duration of the MGCQ through the exercise by the City Mayor of the emergency powers granted by pertinent City Ordinance/s or any applicable laws.
REGULATED PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Strict restrictions on public transportation still remain in place especially when travelling within city limits, and for those entering the territorial jurisdiction of Bacolod City. Public transportation shall take on passengers based on the limited capacity prescribed by the Department of Transportation, and shall be operated under a valid and unexpired franchise; an insurance coverage for the passengers and/or for a third party liability; and shall be roadworthy public utility vehicles (PUVs).
There should also be strict imposition of the following:
- “no go” policy where public transport operators are allowed to operate should only if masks are worn by the driver and the passengers, and social distancing is practiced.
- Social distancing must be observed at all times such that in jeepneys and buses, the passengers must be seated in a space of two passengers apart horizontally with marks drawn on the seat specifying where the passengers are to sit on.
- For taxi cabs or automobile PUVs, only two passengers shall be allowed to be transported on the back seat and one passenger at the front seat. For tricycles PUVs, only one passenger shall be seated at the front of the sidecar and no back-ride behind the driver will be allowed.
- The operators/drivers must frequently clean and sanitize their PUVs.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BY MARITIME AND AVIATION COMPANIES
The other modes of public transportation of commuters/passengers by air or sea shall be further subject to the guidelines issued by the DOTr pursuant to the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines (with amendments as of November 19, 2020) Section 5 (8) thereof, and all the prior general directives of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines as adopted by the Office of the President under Executive Order (OPEO) No. 112 on April 30, 2020, and/or by any subsequent OPEO.
PROVISION OF TRANSPORTATION BY PRIVATE ESTABLISHMENTS
Business establishments permitted to operate during the MGCQ are urged to provide means of transportation to their workers convenient to their schedule and point of origin and destination, while social distancing and health protocols shall be observed at all times.
This provision covers “For Hire” vehicles contracted by business establishments like the BPOs, or their in-house vehicles in mass transporting their workers. In any event, the “For Hire” vehicles shall secure proper permits from the LTFRB and shall operate in a roadworthy condition, under a valid and unexpired franchise; an insurance coverage for the passengers and/or for a third party liability. The transport arrangement shall consider the time adjustment in regard to the observance of the curfew hours imposed by the City Government.
Work in all departments of the City Government of Bacolod including those of national agencies/instrumentalities are allowed to resume physical reporting at full operating capacity, with alternative work arrangements for persons who are 60 years old and above, or those with ages between 18 and 21 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, subject further to relevant rules and regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission.
Business sectors and industries classified as Category I, Category II, Category III and Category IV shall be allowed to operate in accordance with the strict directives and instructions of Section 5 (11) of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines (with amendments as of November 19, 2020), subject further to the strict observance of minimum public health protocols, e.g. wearing of face masks, face shields, and social distancing.
Workers in the private sector may now be allowed to resume physical reporting at full operating capacity in all permitted establishments and activities under Categories I, II, III.
Barber shops, salons, and other personal care service establishments are allowed to operate at a maximum of 50 percent venue capacity, while dine-in restaurants, fast food and food retail establishments, including those in supermarkets, grocery stores, and food preparation establishments are allowed to operate at 50 percent seating capacity.
As for hotels and other accommodation establishments, those allowed to operate are those accredited as provided by law and by relevant DOT and DILG issuances and upon issuance of a Certificate of Authority to operate by the DOT, which shall also determine the allowable operational capacity for the specific establishment.
However, alternative work arrangements may be had for persons who are 60 years old and above, or those with ages between 18 and 21 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women.
PRIVATE SECTOR BUSINESSES ALLOWED TO OPERATE UNDER CATEGORY IV
These businesses under Category IV shall now be allowed to operate under MGCQ at the following operational capacities:
- Language, driving, and dance/acting/voice schools, maximum of fifty percent (50%) of operating capacity
- Entertainment industries (e.g. traditional cinemas, theaters, etc.), maximum of fifty percent (50%) of operating capacity
- Libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers, maximum of fifty percent (50%) of operating capacity
- Tourist destinations (e.g. water parks, beaches, resorts), maximum of fifty percent (50%) of operating capacity
- Live Events (subject to DOT guidelines on Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions & Business Events (MICE Events), maximum of fifty percent (50%) of operating capacity
However, alternative work arrangements may be had for persons who are sixty (60) years old and above, or those with ages between 18 and 21 years old, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women.
PRIVATE SECTOR BUSINESS IN THE NEGATIVE LIST NOW ALLOWED TO OPERATE
Under MGCQ, the holding of traditional cockfighting and operation of cockpits may now be allowed under the following rules mandated by IATF Res. No. 79 dated October 15, 2020:
- Observance of health & safety protocols;
- observance of implementing DILG guidelines;
- no in-person audience; no online or remote betting;
- no live broadcasting or telecasting of the cockfights;
PRIVATE SECTOR BUSINESSES STILL NOT ALLOWED TO OPERATE
The following businesses remain are still not allowed to operate in areas declared under any form of community quarantine:
- Beer houses and similar establishments whose primary business is serving of alcoholic drinks (e.g. nightclubs);
- Kid amusement industries (e.g. playrooms, rides)
BUSINESS OF MALLS AND COMMERCIAL CENTERS
Malls and commercial centers in Bacolod City shall now allowed to operate at 100 percent capacity including non-leisure establishments situated and operating therein, except otherwise specified.
12-HOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS ENCOURAGED
Businesses in the essential goods and services sectors as well as those engaged in providing prime commodities such as supermarkets, public and private wet markets, grocery stores, agri-fishery supply stores, veterinary supply stores, pharmacies, drug stores and other retail establishments under similar business engagements are strongly encouraged to extend their daily store operations to a maximum of 12 hours convenient to both the customers and the proprietors, provided that minimum health protocols, and curfew hours are observed.
PARTIAL LIQUOR BAN
The existing partial liquor ban shall be maintained with the sale and purchase of liquor is limited only from 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. daily, and with no public consumption of alcoholic drinks.
ACADEMICS/EDUCATION SECTORS/SCHOOLS CONCERNS
For schools under the Department of Education, face-to-face or in-person classes shall remain suspended. The Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for K-12 Basic Education adopts the following measures: opening of classes for the basic education shall be on 24 August, 2020 and shall end on 30 April 30, 2021;
Opening of private schools will be allowed within the period provided by law, provided, that school learning continuity plan shall be submitted; no face-to-face classes will be allowed earlier than 24 August; and, from 24 August, face-to-face learning shall only be allowed when the local risk severity grading permits, and subject to compliance with minimum public health standards;
Adoption of various learning delivery options such as but not limited to face-to-face, blended learnings, distance learnings, and homeschooling and other modes of delivery shall be implemented depending on the local COVID Risk Severity Classification and compliance with minimum public health standards; and
Conduct of curricular and co-curricular activities involving gatherings such as science fairs, showcase of portfolios, trade fairs, school sports, campus journalism, festival of talents, job fairs, and other similar activities is cancelled, except those conducted online.
For the HEIs:
Limited face-to-face or in-person classes may be conducted in HEIs provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, consultation with local government units, and compliance with guidelines set by CHED.
The rolling opening of classes will be based on education delivery mode, compliance with minimum public health standards, consultation with LGUs, further guidelines set by the CHED, and the situation on the ground namely:
- HEIs using full online education can open anytime;
- HEIs using flexible learning can open anytime in August 2020;
- HEIs using significant residential (face-to-face/in-person mode) can open not earlier than September 01, 2020;
- No residential ((face-to-face/in-person) classes until August 31, 2020;
- Private HEIs are encouraged to change their academic calendar and open in August 2020.
For TVETs (technical vocational education & training), face-to-face TVET training and competency assessment may be conducted at up to 50% training and assessment site capacity, provided there is strict compliance with minimum public health standards, TESDA guidelines and consultation with local government units.
EXERCISE AND SPORTS
Indoor and outdoor non-contact sports and other forms of exercise such as but not limited to walking, jogging, running, biking, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, equestrian, range shooting, and skateboarding are allowed, provided that the minimum public health standards such as the wearing of masks and the maintenance of social distancing protocols, and no sharing of equipment where applicable, are observed.
Members of the vulnerable sectors shall be allowed to engage in these exercise and sports activities subject to observance of minimum health protocols, provided that spectators in all non-contact sports and exercises shall be prohibited.
REGULATED MASS GATHERINGS
Mass gatherings such as but not limited to movie screenings, concerts, and other entertainment activities, religious services, and work conferences are allowed; provided, participants thereto shall be limited to 50 percent of the venue or seating capacity.
INTERZONAL AND INTRAZONAL MOVEMENTS DURING THE MGCQ
The movement of all types of cargoes by land, air, or sea within and across areas placed under any form of community quarantine shall be unhampered.
Workers in the logistics sector, such as cargo, trucking, courier delivery and port operations shall likewise be allowed to transit across areas placed under any form of community quarantine, provided that only a maximum of five personnel may operate cargo and delivery vehicles by land, with or without load, and that strict social distancing measures must be observed inside such vehicles.
The PNP also retains its authority to conduct inspection procedures in checkpoints for the purpose of ensuring that protocols on strict social distancing and the wearing of masks are observed.
The interzonal movement of the following persons Authorized Persons Outside their Residences into and out of Bacolod shall be permitted upon presentation of appropriate personal ID and/or employment/company ID cards, travel orders, or applicable medical certificates:
- health and emergency frontline services personnel;
- government officials, uniformed personnel, government frontline personnel, and government employees for official business with the corresponding travel authority;
- duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors (HAAs);
- persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons;
- persons going to the airport for travel abroad;
- other persons transported through the efforts of the national government upon observance of the necessary quarantine protocols and with the concurrence of the receiving LGUs; and
- anyone crossing zones for work or business permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home.
The seaports of Bacolod City shall be open for incoming and outgoing cargoes and APORs. Non-APORs traveling between Panay and Bacolod and vice-versa shall be subject to pertinent inter-LGU agreements in place.
The interzonal movement of persons into and out of Bacolod for purpose of leisure shall not yet be permitted.
Authorized shuttle services shall be allowed to travel within and across areas placed under any form of community quarantine, with priority given to persons rendering health and emergency frontline services.
Repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers or returning non-OFW residents who have been issued a Department of Health or fellow-LGU certificate of completion of 14-day facility-based quarantine, those who may be required to undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine, or those who are issued with travel authority by a government agency authorized to do so by the National IATF upon testing negative for COVID-19 (RT-PCR method) whichever is earlier, shall be granted unhampered transit across zones en route to their final destination, provided.
However, that should the final destination of the returning OFWs or non-OFWs is the City of Bacolod, they shall be obliged to comply anew with the health protocols that may be imposed at the discretion of the Bacolod City Government on these residents upon their arrival at any Bacolod seaport or at the Bacolod-Silay airport, [i.e. confirmatory swab test (RT-PCR method), stay at an LGU-managed quarantine facility until negative test results are recorded].
In addition to directives/guidelines that the National IATF-EID shall issue on this matter, the Bacolod City Government may formulate inter-LGU agreements to institute common health protocols/standards in managing interzonal movements consistent with the national policy of the NIATF.