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This Week in Bacolod (May 24 to 30, 2020)

Public transportation has started operating again in Bacolod.

By: Shanice Reyes | May 24, 2020
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Bacolod, City of Smiles, Lockdown News, enhanced community quarantine, Travel News, Global News

The City of Smiles downgraded from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ) last May 16, 2020 after the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) categorized Bacolod as a low-risk area and recommended the shift. Due to the lowered quarantine status, mass transportation has become available to the public again and malls reopened. Meanwhile, a hospital presented a “new normal” measure for patients and visitors to follow.

In other news, an initiative to support overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis was launched. The Social Security System also warns its members against scammers in the city. For news on the other side of the globe, the United States sees a slow recovery in its economy. Read on for lockdown news, travel updates, and more.

Quarantine Updates: Bacolod stops quarantine passes and Sunday lockdowns

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia signed the Executive Order No. 35 series of 2020 that states the suspension of home quarantine passes (HQPs) and Sunday lockdowns in the city. The city is now back to GCQ until either extended, adjusted, upgraded, or lifted by the national IATF. Here are some of the guidelines in Bacolod under the GCQ:

• The curfew in the city still remains from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM daily.
• People ages 21 years old below and 60 years old and above are still ordered to stay at home at all times.
• Wearing face masks and the protocols for social distancing must be observed in markets, offices, restaurants, and public areas.
• Mass transportation must observe physical distancing measures by limiting the vehicle’s capacity to 50%. Meanwhile, passengers should comply with the one seat apart policy inside jeepneys.
• The odd-even scheme for private vehicles entering the city is still mandatory in the city’s entry points.
• Private vehicles are still not allowed to enter the city on Sundays [1].
• Malls are allowed to open non-leisure businesses and restaurants, but the latter should offer delivery and take-out only.
• Mandatory temperature checks and the requirement of face masks must be conducted in the mall and commercial centers’ entrances.
• Outdoor exercises such as walking, jogging, running, and biking are allowed as long as proper social distancing is observed.

Travel News: Land travel resumed in Negros Occidental

Land travel resumed last May 18 in Negros Occidental. For Ceres buses, there is limited capacity operations and no border crossing yet to Negros Oriental and neighboring islands. The bus liner also adopted a new fare rate as prescribed by the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board for areas under GCQ [2].

Meanwhile, sea ports in Negros Occidental will remain closed until May 31 as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19. Governor Eugenio Lacson said that it is best to keep all borders closed until all stranded Negrenses and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are brought back to the province [3].

Shopping News: Three major shopping malls in Bacolod reopened

Responsible malling was promoted by three major shopping malls in Bacolod after the city was placed back on GCQ [4]. Robinsons Place Mandalagan and Ayala Malls Capitol Central are open to the public from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM daily [5]. Meanwhile, SM City Bacolod has announced that they are operational from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM daily [6]. These Bacolod malls strictly follow safety protocols recommended by the government, such as visual queues on mall floors, temperature checks at entrances, and limited capacity in retail stores.

Banks and Remittances News

Cash aid for displaced OFWs from Landbank and DOLE

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) partnered with the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) to distribute cash aid to OFWs who were affected by the pandemic. DOLE’s program, Abot Kamay ang Pagtutulong or AKAP, will support 135,720 displaced land-based and sea-based OFWs who will each receive one-time money assistance of PhP10,000. Landbank President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said that they are working closely with DOLE and will immediately deliver financial support to the OFWs around the world [7].

SSS cautions members against scammers

In an announcement on their official Facebook page, the Social Security System (SSS) warned about potential scammers in Western Visayas [8]. SSS said some members reported individuals going around Bacolod City and giving out forms which asked for their savings account number to process and release their Small Business Wage Subsidy (SBWS). SSS noted the submission of applications for the SBWS program ended already on May 8 and application was exclusively online.

Health News: Riverside Hospital maintains physical distancing in elevators

Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital, also known as Riverside Medical Center Inc., released elevator guidelines for patients and visitors to follow. They have two separate elevators for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in the facility. Each elevator is limited to five passengers, including the elevator operator. The two elevator floors are marked with queues to maintain physical distancing, and passengers are also required to face the elevator walls to prevent direct contact among each other [9].

Global News: Central bank predicts slow economic recovery

The United States would have a slow recovery in the economy due to the lockdown that might take until the end of 2021. Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, said that the economy will recover but may take some time and could stretch through the end of 2021. He pointed out specific parts of the economy such as live events will be challenged or cannot fully recover because people need to feel really safe again.

He added that both Congress and the Central Bank may need to do more initiatives to help workers and businesses affected by the ongoing pandemic. Coronavirus lockdowns left more than 20 million people jobless since business activities were paused. He also suggested that the White House and Congress need to do more to support households and businesses and may need to span these efforts to three or six more months. In terms of the feds’ emergency lending facilities, Mr. Powell said that there was no limit to what they could offer. They could also enlarge their existing programs and start new ones so that businesses and households can borrow money [10].

Go to Yoorekka for more COVID-19 updates in Bacolod.

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About Shanice Reyes
Shanice Reyes writes to buy herself good coffee and bike parts. When she's not writing, you can find her playing Ultimate Frisbee, traveling to new places, or hanging out with her dogs and tarantulas. Though she has an irrational fear of heights, she'd love to try sky-diving one day.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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