Bizman seeks aid to ease effects of Iloilo-Negros travel ban

Philippine News AgencyMay 25, 2021

TRAVEL BAN. Fast craft vessels docked at the Bredco port in Bacolod City halted passenger service starting Tuesday (May 25, 2021) after a travel moratorium was imposed in the area until the end of the month. Sea voyage between the neighboring cities and provinces in Western Visayas was banned after Iloilo City was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine from May 23 to 31, 2021. (PNA Bacolod file photo)

BACOLOD CITY – The week-long travel moratorium between Iloilo City and Province, and Negros Island is expected to result in millions worth of revenue and opportunity losses among the affected sectors, prompting a business leader here to call for government aid.

“It will hurt more the livelihood of the workers in the local shipping industry,” Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said as passenger travel was banned between neighboring cities and provinces in Western Visayas starting Tuesday.

Carbon, operator of fast craft Weesam Express, added that indirectly, it will also affect the livelihood of people making a living at the port such as vendors, and pedicab and tricycle drivers.

In Resolution 6-C, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) placed Iloilo City under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from May 23 to 31, following a surge in the city’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.

The declaration of the MECQ resulted in a moratorium on sea travel from May 25 to 31 through the ports in Iloilo City and Dumangas town, Iloilo province as stated in the advisories issued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) as well as the Western Visayas Regional IATF and the Regional Task Force on Covid-19.

However, the movement of cargoes will continue during the period, according to the Coast Guard Stations in Iloilo and Bacolod.

Carbon urged the local government to provide the workers and those affected in other sectors with subsistence for the next seven days.

“We have to bring in to open that there is a cost-benefit trade-off and that the government must pay the cost to lessen the pain of losing their source of daily subsistence,” he added.

In this city, Mayor Evelio Leonardia also issued Executive Order 27, series of 2021, suspending any mode of travel between the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo from May 25 to 31, or may earlier be lifted or further extended, while Iloilo City is placed under MECQ.

This is except for the delivery of essential goods which will remain unhampered subject to the health and safety protocols, he added.

On Monday, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson expressed support to the travel moratorium between Iloilo and Negros as he encouraged Negrenses to support Iloilo City in containing Covid-19 cases.

“Let’s just help Iloilo. They feel that is one way of stopping the surge then, let’s be part of that solution,” he added. (PNA)

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