2 NegOcc towns to enforce stricter COVID rules

The municipal halls of Toboso (left) and Don Salvador Benedicto/iNews

BACOLOD CITY–To stop the spread of the highly infectious COVID-19 and compel their employees and constituents to get vaccinated, two municipalities in Negros Occidental will be implementing stricter rules.

The Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB) municipal government will be implementing stricter protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus effective January next year.

Mayor Marxlene Dela Cruz said that he will issue an executive order that will ban the entry of unvaccinated vendors into its seven public markets.

Dela Cruz said they will enclose the markets and implement a “one entrance, one exit policy”.

“We want everyone to be vaccinated against the coronavirus,” the mayor stated.

Targeting 5,687 town residents during the three-day national vaccination program, Dela Cruz said the municipal local health office was only able to achieve 70 percent of its objective.

“It is unfair that those who are unvaccinated gets the same privileges as those who are vaccinated as mandated by the government,” the mayor pointed out.

Dela Cruz calls for understanding but said, “I have to implement what needs to be implemented as it is for the good of everyone.”

He also said that effective January 2022 he will not renew the contracts of unvaccinated job order employees of the municipal government.

DSB, which currently has zero active cases, has, in fact, inoculated 98 percent of its municipal employees.

“But we remain vigilant because the virus is still there,” Dela Cruz said.

He added the municipal government will intensify its vaccination campaign and make a clean sweep of all barangays in the town, including those in far-flung areas.

“We will start barangay-to-barangay, then sitio-to-sitio, house-to-house, and, if needed room-to-room,” Dela Cruz said partially in jest.

Don Salvador Benedicto, which is 47 kilometers northwest of Bacolod City, is the summer capital of Negros Occidental with temperatures similar to Baguio City and Tagaytay all year round.

It has a population of 26,922 as of the year 2020.

On the other hand, Toboso Mayor Richard Jaojoco announced on his Facebook account on Sunday that employees of his municipal government are required to submit a vaccination card or a negative RT- PCR test result to be able to work effective December 16.

Jaojoco told Iloilo News that employees who won’t follow the directive will be penalized in accordance with the guidelines laid down by a national Inter-Agency Task Force resolution.

The mayor added that a “no work, no pay” policy will be enforced for job order employees, which means if they are unvaccinated they will be marked absent for every day they can’t show a negative RT- PCR test result or a vaccination card.

“By January 2022, (the contracts of) JO employees who remain unvaccinated will not be renewed,” Jaojoco said. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNews-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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