July 06, 2020 - Monday
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Davao City, Philippines


May 29, 2020 - Friday 4:05 AM by Jimmy Laking

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The problem with doing it alone is that without probably intending to, one may sometimes go out of bounds or tend to overstep.

Such was the problem as described by a Matigsalog datu in the 1990s when Rene B. Lumawag and I chanced upon him and his bunch of anti-NPA fighters in front of City Hall.

The datu and his men were armed with carbines strapped with extended banana-type magazines, in addition to the bolos slung to their waists. They looked formidable indeed.

Two days previously, the chieftain and his men fought it out against a group of NPAs but lost several of his men.

“How did they manage to kill some of your men?” Rene asked.

“Overstepping,” came the reply. The chieftain explained that those who perished in the gun battle failed to comply with protocols and hence overstepped.

One of the protocols violated was to avoid sleeping with the missus on the eve of a gun battle.

In a way, Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib overstepped when he insisted on closing his borders at a time when the region had just transitioned to general community quarantine.

The guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) notwithstanding, Jubahib has stuck to an Enhanced Community Quarantine mode by sealing off his orders.

He made it plain that his borders with Bukidnon and Davao City are closed indefinitely, and that those who insist on entering Davao del Norte will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Probably the idea of enclosing his province with a formidable barrier such as the one separating the United States from Mexico must have also crossed his mind but recognized its futility. How for instance can you enclose the Island Garden City of Samal itself?

One Davao City resident who tried to go to the municipality of Carmen to oversee the harvest of his mangoes had to go back to Davao City. Similar complaints were not uncommon.

In a statement, Mayor Sara Duterte suggested that if some provinces in the region feel like closing their borders indefinitely, they should go back to ECQ mode (for as long as they want to.)

On Wednesday, DILG regional director Alexander Roldan took Jubahib to task for issuing an executive order that was too restrictive and inconsistent with IATF policies.

Roldan advised Juhabib to stick to IATF guidelines.

Jubahib’s order mandates residents from Davao City and Bukidnon to undergo a 14-day quarantine if they insist on entering his province.

The order also bars the entry of people from all areas with COVID-19 cases. The order exempts members of the crisis management and response team, emergency vehicles, health workers, and police and military personnel who are on official travel.

In his letter, Roldan explained to Jubahib that the IATF's guidelines allow the movement of people between areas placed under the general community quarantine.

Roldan also pointed out to Jubahib that under the IATF guidelines, the movement of certain individuals such as workers, Overseas Filipino Workers, and persons returning to their places of origin is permitted.

Finally, Roldan reminded Jubahib of a memorandum circular issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea that directed LGUs to adopt, coordinate, and implement the IATF guidelines.

In short, Roldan was telling Jubahib to just do his job and to stop tinkering around.