No travel restrictions for Bacolod residents within Negros

BACOLOD CITY: The provincial government of Negros Occidental will not burden residents of Bacolod City with additional travel restrictions, lawyer Rayfrando Diaz, provincial administrator, said on Thursday.

The announcement came on the heels of the declaration of the National Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) putting the city under Alert Level 3 beginning January 14 until January 31.

Diaz said it is not necessary to further burden Bacoleños who want to travel within the province by requiring them to submit a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“It would be impractical to have border controls. Even during the times when our quarantine classifications were changing, it was still okay,” he said, adding that the movement of people and vehicles within Negros Occidental will remain smooth.

He likened Negros Occidental and its capital city Bacolod as “husband and wife sleeping on the same bed.”

Diaz also said there are currently no travel restrictions as well with Negros Oriental and bus trips between the two provinces remain normal.

The only requirements for travelers from Negros Oriental are a Covid-19 vaccination card or certificate, a valid identification card and a Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) registration.

However, he said that since Cebu City had also been placed under Alert Level 3, travelers originating there and entering Negros Occidental would be required to present a negative RT-PCR test regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

Earlier, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson issued an executive order mandating travelers coming from areas under Alert Level 3 to present a negative RT-PCR test at the ports.

“Our concept is a bubble. We will maintain our strict monitoring of our airports and seaports,” Diaz added.

He also noted a surge of Covid-19 cases in Negros Occidental component cities, including Bago, Cadiz and Kabankalan.

Diaz reported that Cadiz City recorded 21 new cases on January 12.

Mayor Salvador Escalante Jr. confirmed that the Cadiz City quarantine facility is now occupied by 61 Covid-positive patients, from zero occupants early this month.