#COVID-19 Regional Updates (04/15/20)

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Cebu to launch program to help stranded residents return home

THE CEBU provincial government is setting up a center to help residents return home after they have been locked out due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) declaration to mitigate the entry of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Under the ECQ policy, the province’s borders were strictly closed except for cargo delivery and frontline workers. “The Stranded Cebuanos Assistance Center (SCAC) will become operational soon,” the provincial government said in a post on its Facebook page on Wednesday. Cebu has yet to announce an end-date for its ECQ implementation. Bohol province has been implementing a similar program through its Offshore Boholanos Coordinating Team. As of April 13, Bohol had received 11,868 requests for assistance. “As of this writing, there are requests pending prompting the team to add 40 more validators by tomorrow to fast track the process,” the local government said. The requests are validated by the team before organizing transport assistance to bring qualified residents home, with priority given to stranded students and displaced workers. Bohol’s community quarantine measures will be in effect until April 30. — MSJ

Davao City eyes ban on cockfighting, small town lottery

DAVAO City officials are looking at a total ban on gambling, including cockfighting events and the government-operated small town lottery. “There was a consensus that we would make Davao City gambling-free. Meaning, even legal gambling activities must not be allowed,” Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in an interview Tuesday over the local government-run radio station. The issue on gambling activities has been central in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in the city as a series of cockfighting events in March has been traced as the main venue of COVID-19 local transmission cases. The derby was given a permit by the city government prior to the imposition of quarantine measures. “Government should not be the entity to encourage gambling to the poor,” Ms. Carpio said. As of April 15, the entire Davao Region recorded 92 COVID-19 patients, with Davao City accounting for the highest number at 76. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

Dar asks Bukidnon gov’t to ease restrictions on agriculture, transport

AGRICULTURE Secretary William D. Dar has appealed to the provincial government of Bukidnon to allow uninterrupted operations related to food production and transport. “We appeal for your deeper understanding of the importance of the unhampered movement of food and agricultural workers in minimizing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr. Dar said in a letter to Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria R. Zubiri Jr. The secretary cited that the local directive is not in line with the Department of Agriculture’s memorandum granting continued operations of companies related to food production. The governor issued strict quarantine guidelines, in effect from April 13–26, after the province recorded its first positive case of the coronavirus disease 2019. Agriculture-related businesses such as sugar and fresh fruits are among those ordered to shut down operations for two weeks. “Subsequently, disruption in the operations will have a negative impact on the supply chain and will ultimately result in the financial dislocation of thousands of their employees,” Mr. Dar said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave