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Davao City, Philippines

Davao Region LGUs prepare to open borders

May 22, 2020 - Friday 6:05 PM by Romeo Braceros, Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

Article Banner Image HIGHWAY CHECK. Land Transportation Office (LTO) personnel check passengers of private vehicles passing the Davao-Cotabato Road in Davao City as part of the continued COVID-19 safety measures. Local government units in Davao Region have agreed to open their border checkpoints for people and goods to pass. ARJOY M. CENIZA

DAVAO CITY — Mayor Sara Duterte on Friday said local government units in Davao Region have agreed to open their border checkpoints for people and goods to pass.

In her regular interview with Davao City Disaster Radio, the mayor said the region’s LGUs requested that they be given time to set up their own health screening system before they open their borders to ensure all persons entering their area are free of COVID-19. 

"Nihangyo ang LGUs nga hatagan sa sila ug time nga maka set up sa ilahang health screening system before I open and border for free movement of people and goods," Sara said.

(The LGUs asked for time to set up their respective health screening systems before I open and border for the free movement of people and goods.)

DOWNTOWN-BOUND. Traffic on the lane going to downtown Davao City from Bangkal is heavy as more vehicles ply the streets of the city under general community quarantine (GCQ). GREGORIO C. BUENO / MINDANEWS

She said there is a need for these health screening systems to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At the moment, passing through and exiting the border checkpoints in Davao region is difficult since some towns prohibit the entry of people outside of their locality.

The mayor, who is also chair of the Regional Task Force on COVID-19, said she told LGU leaders that there is a need to allow people to pass borders for essential services and leisure since the general community quarantine (GCQ) and enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) are not  forever.

“Nagkasinabot mi na dili sa kanunay panahon dunay quarantine. Muabot man jud sa punto na maopen na siya,” she said.

(We agreed that the quarantine will not always be there. We will get to the point where we have to open our borders.)

She said the LGUs also discussed the procedure to be followed.

"Naay uban dili dyud magdugay sa usa ka place so dili nato siya puede ug iquarantine for 14 days," she said.

(There will be those who will not stay long in a particular place so we cannot place them on 14-day quarantine.)

Sara said she also appealed to other LGUs in Davao Region to allow entry to people seeking passage to Davao City, adding the city prepared for this during the ECQ.

“Davao City is ready to open for people. This is what we’ve been preparing for katong sa ECQ,” she said.

Two passengers fail health test

In the same interview, the mayor said two passengers of the mercy flight from Metro Manila on Thursday failed the health screening conducted by Davao City health officers when they arrived at the Davao International Airport.

NEW NORMAL. This is the face of the new normal in Davao City: people wearing face masks and jeepneys with plastic cover barriers. ARJOY M. CENIZA

She said the two passengers, who were on board the mercy flight initiated by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), were sent to Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC) for  swab testing.

The mayor, however, clarified that there are still no results for the swab test and that the two failed the physical screening and not the rapid diagnostic test.

“Ninety-nine kabuok ang niabot and duha kabuok ang nabagsak sa health screening. Atoa dayon silang girefer sa SPMC,” she said.

(Ninety-nine arrived and two of them failed the health screening. We immediately referred them to SPMC.)

Sara said after the tests at SPMC, the two passengers were immediately brought to an isolation facility.

The City Health Office conducts thermal screening, rapid diagnostic test, and more on everyone who enters the city, whether via air, land, or sea.

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