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By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Thursday, June 18, 2020
With the power given by IATF and the concurrence of all town and city mayors in Cebu Province, Gov. Gwen Garcia will lift the MECQ status of Talisay City. (Lito Tecson)

Citing the power given by the IATF to governors over quarantine status of its LGUs, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will lift the MECQ status of Talisay City. 

The move is with the concurrence of all town and city mayors in Cebu Province during a consultative meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

Garcia cited the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) Resolution 29 authorizing provincial governors to impose, lift or extend quarantine status of component cities and municipalities.

“We referred this yesterday to Usec. Densing and I pointed this out that after all, the provincial governor is authorized to impose or lift ECQ amongst component cities and municipalities, and he agreed. Usec. Densing agreed that we do have this power,” Garcia said. 

The meeting was attended by mayors, members of the Provincial Board, Cebu legislators, regional heads of key government agencies and other members of the regional IATF, including its co-chair, Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH-7) Director Jaime Bernadas.

Garcia signed Executive Order 17-G reclassifying the MECQ status of Talisay City to GCQ which the Regional IATF will discuss on Friday, June 19. It is seen to take effect on the same day.

“Kun imo ihatag nako Mayor Samsam ug mangutana ko ubang mga mayors labi na gikan sa Talisay padung ngadto sa south, ganahan mo molahi ang Talisay, or GCQ tanan?” Garcia asked town and city mayors.

The chief executives all responded in agreement.

Moalboal Mayor Paz Rozgoni expressed her support to the move, saying, “Og mahimo gyud Gov, heroic naman gyud ang imong gibuhat sa amo Gov, labi na namo nga mga bag-o nga di makabarug, tabangan lang gyud mi nimo Gov. Please i-lift up na lang nang Talisay.”

San Fernando City Mayor Neneth Reluya said she fully supports the reclassification of Talisay City “because we really move in one direction in the south. In District 1 we are one.” 

“Karon nga ECQ ang Cebu City nya ma downgrade pa gyud ang Talisay City, kuyawan pud kami sa south Gov kay when Cebu City catches a flu, the rest of us suffers pneumonia,” Argao Mayor Allan Sesaldo said.

Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura implored on Bernadas to include Talisay City with the Province being placed on GCQ: “RD (Bernadas) ato nalang intawon ning iapil sa GCQ kay looy intawon pud kaayo nga kami mag wellness-wellness sa among lungsod ug among mga tawo samtang ilang mga tawo wala intawon wellness kay tungod MECQ.”

“Kami Gov uyon mi if karon adlawa atong desisyonan nga ilakip nato si Mayor Sam and the city of Talisay pagka GCQ uban sa tibuok Probinsya,” Shimura said.

Cebu 1st District Board Member Raul Bacaltos said the PB will adopt the EO that Garcia will issue.

“Padungga og masipang pakpak si Mayor Samsam and let the rest of our kaigsuonan sa Talisay hear that, kay aron pud ma-lift ang morale sa atong mga kauban sa Talisay,” Bacaltos said.

Talisay City’s quarantine status reverting to MECQ was effective on June 16, which surprised Gullas and even Gov. Garcia. They learned that the IATF decision to re-classify Talisay City was based on the erroneous data provided by the DOH that the city had zero recoveries. 

According to Gullas, this was incorrect since the city had 43 recoveries and 59 active cases as of June 16.

“There are many things that you could look at to see that dili angay ang Talisay mahatagan og distinction to be the only component city in the whole country under MECQ. No matter what happens, magpadayon ba ni until the 30th, ma appeal ba ni or dili, the distinction is there and the damage has been done,” Gullas lamented.

Bernadas, for his part, denied that the DOH-7 was the source of the report. 

It was learned that the report came from Special Adviser to the National Task Force Against Covid-19 Dr. Tony Leachon who posted on social media that the city had zero recoveries. 

Leachon had resigned from his post, following calls for his resignation after his social media posts discrediting the DOH.

Gullas, for his part, thanked Garcia and the mayors for the vote of confidence.  He said in jest that if things will return to normal, everyone is welcome to eat Talisay’s famous lechon. 

“Salamat sa inyong pagwagtang sa kasakit sa atong kasingkasing karong panahona. Bug-at bug-at gyud ang akong giatubang sukad Monday midnight. Pero karon hopefully kun madayon ni tanan, I know naa pay proseso again, pero kun madayon ni tanan, dako ni og ikatabang sa city,” Gullas said. 

The governor had expressed concern that if Talisay City will not be included in the GCQ classification of the province, she will be faced with the problem of finding a new terminal for those travelling from the south of Cebu. 

Presently, the province is using the Lantaw Restaurant at the South Road Property in Talisay City as temporary bus terminal while the Cebu South Bus Terminal located in Cebu City is on a different quarantine status. As per IATF guidelines, an area is not allowed to provide public transportation while on MECQ status. 

“Unya unsaon naman na? Mobalhin ta sa Minglanilla? So mao na ang immediate nato nga mga nakita nga complications kun malahi ang Talisay,” Garcia said. (Vanessa L. Almeda)