Lacson ‘clashes’ with RIATF, asks NIATF to ‘mediate’

PHOTO CAPTION: Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson (inset), in letters (background) addressed to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and Sec. Vivencio Dizon, is appealing and defending a revision he made to IATF Resolution 101 contained in his Executive Order./iNEWS

BACOLOD CITY–Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is not about to give in and give up.

After the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) essentially crossed out his Executive Order stipulating the mandatory swabbing and quarantine upon entry of all travelers to the province, which is contrary to the mandate of Resolution 101, the provincial chief is now taking his appeal to the national IATF.

In separate letters addressed to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. and deputy chief implementer and testing czar Sec. Vivencio Dizon, Lacson asked the officials to reconsider the RIATF’s observations and recommendations and allow the province to implement his revision to Resolution 101, which he said was “imperative…to protect our constituents, our local economy, and our future”.

The governor stressed that while they were more than willing to fully implement the uniform travel protocols specified in IATF Resolution 101, “the unexpected increase of positivity rate in our molecular laboratory and the rapid surge of COVID-19 confirmed cases have rendered Negros Occidental defenseless from the onslaught of COVID-19 cases coming from other parts of  the country.”

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases is “clearly caused by LSIs, APORs, and ROFs,” the governor claimed.

The letter signed by DILG-6 Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero detailing the observations and recommendations of the RIATF relative to Lacson’s EO./iNEWS

‘BURDENSOME AND CONFUSING’

The regional IATF, in its observations and recommendations relative to EO 21-18-A, Series of 2021, said requiring travelers to undergo RT-PCR tests “is already unduly burdensome, especially if they already had their tests from their LGUs or point of origin.”

“The quarantine time may unduly hamper their travel business. While the tests and quarantine shall be free and at the expense of the province, it would be of lesser expense if verification as to whether the test results are fake or genuine can be made at the ports,” it said.

It also said that the provincial government should “make the necessary changes and clarifications so that all local issuances will harmonize and align with those issued by the national government.”

Conflicting issuances will cause confusion among the traveling public, the regional IATF said, adding that “IATF Resolution No.101 is already a result of consultations with local officials.”

It recommended that the Capitol impose measures without resorting to “double-swabbing”. These, it said, should include strict symptoms-screening at all its airports, seaports, terminals, and other points of entry.

Tests conducted at the Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital molecular laboratory in Silay City on Wednesday, March 31, showed 53 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the province.

Cadiz City had the highest number at 12, followed by San Carlos City with 9.

The other cases were in Bacolod City, Bago City, Valladolid, and Isabela, with five each; Escalante City, 3;  Talisay City and Cauayan, 2 each, and Sagay City, La Carlota City, Manapla, Pulupandan, and Toboso, with one each. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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