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Bacolod bans entry of vessels from China due to COVID-19 scare

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By Glazyl Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The city government of Bacolod has banned the entry of all vessels coming from China, HongKong, and Macau into any of the seaports here to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Bacolod City officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia met with Bureau of Quarantine Bacolod Chief Dr. Sebastian Tabuga, Philippine Coast Guard - Negros Occidental Provincial Commander Jansen Benjamin and Chief Petty Officer Ranilo Lañojan at the Bacolod City Government Center Wednesday (Bacolod City PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Bacolod City officials led by Mayor Evelio Leonardia met with Bureau of Quarantine Bacolod Chief Dr. Sebastian Tabuga, Philippine Coast Guard – Negros Occidental Provincial Commander Jansen Benjamin and Chief Petty Officer Ranilo Lañojan at the Bacolod City Government Center Wednesday (Bacolod City PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued Executive Order No. 11 Series of 2020 on February 26, following the arrival of M/V Unicorn Bravo loaded with fertilizer from Xiamen, China at the Bacolod coast on February 24.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ordered the cargo vessel to drop anchor at sea, a kilometer away from the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) port while waiting for the quarantine officer to check the crew – 15 Chinese and four Burmese.

Leonardia stated in the order that the city government has been conscious about the serious threat of COVID-19 and the potential danger it may bring to the health, well-being and life of its citizens, taking into account the declaration of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the travel ban issued by President Duterte.

The order stated that the WHO has already declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHWIC) last January 30.

As such, WHO is now coordinating international efforts to minimize the threat of the COVID-19 and to reduce the risk of further international spread, Leonardia said.

The local chief executive also said in the order that, through the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases, the President issued on January 31, a temporary travel ban for travelers coming from China, Hong Kong and Macau (SAR).

The order said that Section 16 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code provides that “every local government unit shall exercise the power expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, promote health and safety.

Leonardia said the intention of the city government to assume the position of taking major preventive measures to protect its citizens from possible exposure to carriers or sources of the COVID-19.

The city of Bacolod has no reported patients under investigation or monitoring as of press time.

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