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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Thursday, May 21, 2020
Fourth district mayors come together in a meeting with Gov. Gwen Garcia to agree on the GCQ protocols to be implemented in their respective towns. (Junjie Mendoza)

Mayors in the fourth district of Cebu Province agreed on regulations based on Executive Order 17 or the “General Community Quarantine Protocols” signed last May 19, most especially now that more families expressed to return to the district.

The Mayors Meeting last May 20 hosted by the Municipality of Medellin is described to be a “historic one with all nine mayors rising above political differences,” in a gesture of solidarity to refine a system in addressing Covid-19 concerns.

Mayor Carlo Jose Martinez of Bogo City, Mayor Mariano Martinez of San Remigio, Mayor Joven “Benjun” Mondigo of Medellin, Mayor Ziegred Duterte of Tabogon, Mayor Sun Shimura of Daanbantayan, Mayor Arthur Despi of Bantayan, Mayor Ithamar Espinosa of Santa Fe, Mayor Salvador de la Fuente of Madridejos, and Vice Mayor Rex Gerona representing Tabuelan Mayor Raul Gerona concurred to adopt common guidelines between borders with the help of their chiefs of police who were also present during the meeting led by Cebu Provincial Police Office Chief Col. Roderick Mariano.

The mayors raised their concerns to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia about the desire of more families to come home to the fourth district, most especially from areas with infection and still under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). 

The governor said that they have the discretion to accept the returning families.

“Kamo man gud ang mas angayan ana mo-decide kay mas nakahibawo man mo kon angay ba na sila nga papaulion. Kay kamo may magsagubang sa pag-explain ana sa barangay, ang social preparation niana,” Garcia said.

The mayors agreed that families coming from Cebu City should seek permission from them first and that these families should go through swab tests before coming home. 

As for passengers taking provincial buses, they will be required to present their quarantine pass and a company ID. Only essential workers, those with exemptions, and those needing medical attention can travel. 

If a quarantine pass is issued to a person from an area with cases of infection like Mandaue City then he can’t board the bus since Mandaue is still in ECQ.
“Kay wala man ni magpasabot nga pwede na ta mag-laag-laag. Milugak ta sa atong restrictions aron ma-resuscitate ang atong ekonomiya, so kung dili ka essential worker or wala kay importanteng tuyo, stay at home,” the governor stressed.

Garcia vowed that Capitol will assist the mayors on the concern of swab testing to help allay fears on the health condition of these returning families.

The mayors were also advised to have public school teachers ferried to schools in mountain barangays on a fortnightly basis.

“In a meeting with DepEd yesterday (May 19) public school teachers will report on June 1 para ipaandam ang schools, and mag-training sad sila on four modalities nga mao ni gamiton sa situation unya sa schools ig-open sa August,” she added.

Capitol consultant on development in the fourth district Benhur Salimbangon announced that 4th District Rep. Janice Salimbangon will work hard for the restoration of the budget worth P1.6 billion which was slashed to P600 million after response programs became the priority of the national government in fighting Covid-19.

“Covid-19 disrupted our own programs such as the infrastructure projects earlier pursued and our efforts to establish the fourth district as an economic zone. We seek the assistance of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on the desired restoration,” Salimbangon said.

The Capitol will initiate a second wave of food packs distribution in the fourth district for barangay workers to include Bantay Dagat personnel, emergency responders, the barangay chairmen, kagawads (councilmen), and barangay secretaries. 

“This is a message of hope. If we have hope, we can accomplish anything,” Garcia said.

The mayors meeting was also graced by 4th District Rep. Janice Salimbangon, 4th District Provincial Board Member Horacio “Raci” Franco, and Philippine Councilors League President Francis Salimbangon, an ex-officio Provincial Board Member. (Eleanor Valeros)