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This Week in Bacolod (March 20 to 26, 2022)

Bacolod City remains under Alert Level 1 until March.

By: Mira Maestrecampo | March 20, 2022
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The City of Smiles, Bacolod City, has remained under Alert Level 1 classification, while the province of Negros Occidental remains at a higher risk classification, under Alert Level 2. Some travel restrictions are slowly easing, but still maintaining to impose regulations for the public’s overall safety.

A transport strike is in action led by transportation organizations due to the escalating oil price hike since the past week. Two main bridges in Bacolod City are also set to be repaired for added safety of the commuting public, motorists, drivers, and the maintenance of the said infrastructures.

The health sectors and the government also lead vaccination to inoculate residents and senior citizens.

Quarantine News: Retained Alert Level 1 status in Bacolod, Alert Level 2 in Negros Occidental

Bacolod City retains its Alert Level 1 status while the province of Negros Occidental has likewise remained under Alert Level 2, effective until March 31.

Other areas in the Visayas under Alert Level 1 are Aklan, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo City, Cebu City, and Siquijor, also effective until the end of the month.

Acting Presidential Spokesperson Sec. Martin M. Andanar announced this further, saying that the Inter-Agency Task Force placed the National Capital Region under Alert Level 1 from March 16 until March 31 and more 47 areas in the country.

Bacolod City and Negros Occidental are under minimum risk classification; thus, the alert levels assigned, as per DOH-6 Senior Health Program Officer John Richard Lapascua.

As for Bacolod City, the DOH reported that the city had inoculated 127.53% of its target population. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said that the government’s economic recovery plan coincides with the alert level status of the city, especially with regards to the recovery of the business sectors. [1]

Meanwhile, in Negros Occidental, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson mandates the extension of the Alert Level 2 status of Negros Occidental until March 31 to release a new Executive Order.

One factor that refrained Negros Occidental from being classified to a lower alert level is the low vaccination rate of senior citizens in the province, as seconded by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz. Despite the significant drop of cases in the province, the Department of Health or DOH still doesn’t consider the senior citizen’s group of vaccinees fully protected. [2]

Diaz also added that it would still take time before Negros Occidental’s alert level lowered. The province can reach a qualified rate of senior citizens by then.

Currently, the government of Negros Occidental is planning strategies to have more senior citizens inoculated, starting with establishing two Negros Occidental Comprehensive Health Program Cards provided to old citizen couples instead of providing for one. With this incentive, senior citizens will be able to receive PhP10,000 for health assistance instead of receiving only PhP5,000. Diaz has also ordered the Provincial Health Office to ready the master list of senior citizens to be covered under this incentive.

Travel Updates

S-PaSS requirements were regulated, more travel restrictions were eased.

Negros Occidental is unrestricted in the S-PaSS Travel Management System. On the other side of the province, fully vaccinated passengers are no longer required by the San Carlos City Government to submit S-PaSS requirements upon entering its seaports in Cebu.

As for Negros Occidental, fully vaccinated individuals must comply with proof of vaccination; meanwhile, unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers at the ports are subjected to free Rapid Antigen Tests. [3] The government also accepts non-reactive Rapid Antigen Test results as long as the test is taken 48 hours before traveling, taken by a DOH accredited clinic or laboratory.

Three Manila–Bacolod–Manila flights per day will also be permitted for Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines, while two flights will be allowed for Air Asia. Additionally, airline companies can also have one more inbound cargo flight only, from Manila to Bacolod, another additional outbound flight from Bacolod to Manila.

Sea vessels can only carry 50% of their passenger capacity.

As for San Carlos City, the city government says that easing the travel requirements for travelers, particularly residents entering the city’s boundaries, would be practical.

The current policy was advised and signed by San Carlos City Emergency Operations Center Manager Joe Recalex Alingasa Jr. and approved by San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo.

This advisory was then disseminated to shipping lines traveling the San Carlos City Toledo route. The policy was also announced and implemented to San Carlos City, Toledo City, and the Philippine Ports Authority substations.

However, a vaccination card and a valid, government-issued ID are required to show proof of residence.

Flyovers in Bacolod closed for repairs.

As duly authorized by the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office or BTAO, the Lacson-Circumferential flyover located in Barangay Bata and the new bridge in Baranggay Sum-Ag will be temporarily closed for maintenance and repair from March 16 until March 23.

The rehabilitation of Bacolod City’s highway bridges shall be spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways announced by BTAO Spokesperson Dennis Perma. While the bridges will be under repair and rehabilitation, a single lane will be partially opened exclusively for light vehicles only.

DPWH–Bacolod District Engineer Jamie Javellana says that the flyover will be newly covered with asphalt to not be dangerously slippery for vehicles and motors. They will also add more street lights along the flyover bridges.

BTAO has initiated to put up signs around the area for added safety.

Transport strike in Negros Occidental and Bacolod

Negros Occidental and Bacolod City is gearing up for a 2-day transport strike this March 21 and March 22, triggered by the increasing oil price hike last week.

This transport strike is “People’s Holiday”, to express resentments regarding the unending oil price increase. Oil companies are expected to continuously impose high price increases because of the Philippines’ problem in procurement, further sanctions imposed by the United States, and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Health News: Bacolod City logs no new active cases

Bacolod City logs zero active cases, having recorded thrice of no issues this year. Mayor Leonardia expressed hope towards the recent real-time reports, praising the efforts of Bacolod City’s Emergency Operations Center - Task Force and the cooperation of Bacolod City residents in following the health and safety protocols administered by the government and the health sectors.

Leonardia added that this does not mean complacence and continuously reminds Bacolodnons and anyone who visits the city to stay vigilant and ‘live with the virus cautiously’. [6]

Vaccination Updates: Pfizer vaccines arrive in Bacolod, Negros Occidental

For areas in Negros Occidental to hold festivals, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz convincedly says that everyone must get their vaccination first. [7] Even though the situation of the cases is improving in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City, the province remains at Alert Level 2 since it has still not reached its supposed vaccination target, particularly in the age group of senior citizens.

Meanwhile, Bacolod City receives 30,000 more Pfizer vaccination doses for children. Delivery of vaccines for Negros Occidental is also to be followed within the week. The Pfizer vaccines will be for children ages five to 11 years old and will be administered through barangay vaccination centers to inoculate more children this month.

On the other hand, Governor Lacson announced that a house-to-house vaccination drive would be conducted due to the low rate of vaccinees during the 4th National Vaccination Days.

The government can no longer wait for the people to go to vaccination sites themselves, so a house-to-house vaccination initiative is needed, Lacson added. [9]

Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Bacolod and Negros!

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.


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About Mira Maestrecampo
Mira - with a long surname - is a girl who dreams of becoming a news anchor someday, in God's perfect time. She loves to read books and eat different kinds of cheesy or saucy food. A coffee addict and a dog lover, she loves long hugs, hot coffee on an afternoon break with friends, or simply sleeping all day with her stuffed unicorns.
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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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