Caraga now under ECQ, continues regional border lockdown
BUTUAN CITY, May 2 (PIA) — The Caraga Regional Task Force on COVID-19 One Caraga Shield has placed the entire region under general community quarantine (GCQ) from May 1 to May 15, after the National Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF MEID) listed the region as among the low-risk areas in the country.
After nearly a month-long implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), authorities in the region can now impose eased quarantine measures.
Early on, the task force’s Technical Working Group (TWG), headed by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Caraga, had first convened to assess the economic situation in the region as well as relevant updates of the status of the pandemic.
The region now faces great economic distress as most establishments were forced to suspend operations temporarily. Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showed the crisis has resulted to an aggregate loss amounting to P1.381 billion, affecting 4,825 firms and the livelihood of 10,417 workers. The service sector, comprising 51 percent of Caraga’s Gross Regional Domestic Product, was largely affected due to the pandemic.
In addition, the welfare of the Caraganon transients and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have been forced to stay in their current location for the meantime need tending to, as they clamor to return home mainly due to the lack of resources to sustain their daily needs.
During the task force’s 5th Teleconference Meeting on April 29, local government officials and government agency heads convened to probe on the matter. In addition to the said concerns, the Department of Health (DOH) Caraga had raised the probable rise of cases in the region, particularly in Butuan City where all three cases have originated from.
DOH Caraga Dr. Jose Llacuna, Jr., emphasized that since Caraga was the last to have had a confirmed case, the proliferation of the confirmed cases is likely to happen, especially with the growing number of suspected cases.
The region holds three confirmed cases, wherein one has recovered, the other having tested negative on its second follow-up test while the other tested positive in its third confirmatory test.
Butuan City mayor Ronnie Vicente Lagnada proposed that the ECQ be extended in the city, primarily to monitor the development of the spread of the disease and prevent the occurrence of an additional case.
After careful consideration, task force members, headed by Caraga Regional Development Council (RDC) chairperson and Agusan del Norte provincial governor Dale Corvera, agreed to extend the ECQ in Butuan City and impose GCQ in the five provinces, namely Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Dinagat Islands while maintaining regional border lockdown.
Under the national guidelines, regions imposing GCQ will allow operations of certain establishments to resume completely or partially, depending on the services offered while leisure establishments and schools are prohibited to operate.
Public transportation will also be allowed, with vehicles observing limited capacity. The No Back Ride policy will still be followed in Caraga. With the availability of public transportation, provincial borders will now be open to individuals residing in the region.
Curfew will still be strictly imposed.
Individuals aged 21 to 59 as well as working senior citizens are allowed to go out of their homes but only for certain transactions such as availing basic goods and reporting for work.
Throughout GCQ, everyone is to continue to observe physical distancing and wearing of face masks. Establishments are required to continue conducting temperature check and sanitation. (DMR/PIACaraga)