A SENIOR citizen gets vaccinated at the Iloilo Convention Center in this photo posted July 12. — @ILOILOCITYGOV 

THE LEADERS of Bacolod City, Iloilo City and the province of Iloilo will appeal the national government’s plan to put their areas under strict lockdown levels from July 16-31, citing adverse impact on the local economy.  

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, in a statement released late Tuesday, said they have just been informed by the national task force handling the coronavirus response that the city and Iloilo province will be placed under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the strictest level. 

“We cannot afford to close all businesses if we go under ECQ — people will be out of work and everyone will be in a most difficult situation,” he said.  

Mr. Treñas also said he has conferred with Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., who will also file an appeal. 

In Bacolod, Mayor Evelio R. Leonardia said the city cannot afford to again be under modified ECQ, the second strictest level.  

“We will vigorously appeal against the escalation of our community quarantine status,” he said in a statement, noting that coronavirus cases have dropped by 42% in the past two weeks.  

“It is not debatable that many Bacolodnons have already lost their jobs and businesses because of the prolonged community quarantine. We cannot afford to add more restrictions that will extend the freeze on our economic recovery,” he said.  

Mr. Treñas, on the other hand, acknowledged that cases were still increasing as of July 12 and the health care system is at high risk. He assured, however, that “we are doing everything we can to improve our situation.” 

Data from the Department of Health-Western Visayas office show that as of July 13, there were 10,857 active coronavirus cases in the region out of the 74,148 recorded since the start of the pandemic.  

Of the active cases, 2,977 were in Iloilo province, 1,710 in Iloilo City, and 1,435 in Bacolod.  

The rest are in the following provinces: Negros Occidental, 1,744; Aklan, 1,710; Antique, 537; Capiz, 587; and Guimaras, 157.  

The region, which has a population of over 7.9 million, has recorded 61,548 recoveries and 1,712 deaths from coronavirus. — MSJ