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Strict border controls within Bantayan Island now lifted
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Monday, October 19, 2020
Commuters going to Bantayan Island observe health protocols at the Hagnaya Port in San Remigio town. In the island, residents can travel more conveniently as strict border controls have been lifted. (Tonee Despojo)

Bantayan Island residents can now experience easier and less stressful travel as strict border controls in the island’s three towns have been lifted effective Saturday, October 17.

This as Governor Gwendolyn Garcia sat down with the three mayors and settled conflicting restrictions in the implementation of border controls in each of their towns causing confusion to residents, persons authorized outside of residence (APOR), and frontliners.

Garcia met with the mayors after the tourism stakeholders’ dialogue at the Sta. Fe Cultural and Sports Complex on Friday, October 16.

“As far as meeting gahapon, among nasabutan nga wala na’y mga restriction, dili na i-hamper ang movement sa tawo within MGCQ area lang,” Sta. Fe Mayor Ithamar Espinosa said.

Madridejos Mayor Salvador dela Fuente, in a speech on Sunday, October 18, said he is thankful to the governor for finally resolving the issue which has hounded Lawisnons for some time now. 

During a short program for the inauguration of the road concreting of Poblacion-San Agustin Road in Madridejos, Dela Fuente shared that quarantine passes are no longer required when entering Bantayan town and going on pillion rides. 

“Gawas pa sina, kana back ride pangitaan, dire sa aton wa kita manakop, nya didto sa Bantayan pangitaan kita og kanang pillion pass, kun ang backseat dili gani asawa, papaulion ka. Di kamo pasudlon,” he recalled.

“Alegre kaayo ba, niabot kami sa solusyon na iya kuno utrohon na ni Mayor Art (Despi), at least kita dinhi ba, gipasabot gyud ni Gov nga ang tawo dinhi sa Isla sa Bantayan sarat na kwarta sarat na lang mopalit. So gipasabot gyud na ni Gov Gwen. So pasalamat ako, kita, ni Gov. Gwen, nakahimo gyud intawon og solusyon,” he added. 

Dela Fuente also shared that they learned to consult their local concerns and issuances with the governor.

“So maghimo kami san EO mga mayor, dapat magconsult anay kami kan governor una pa kami mag release san EO,” he said. 

Earlier in the stakeholders’ dialogue, participants raised concerns on the movement of locals within the three towns which was still very strict considering that the province is already under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

The situation, they said, discouraged residents from visiting neighboring tourist spots.

Garcia clarified during the meeting that movement of locals is already not restricted since the MGCQ downgrade.

She emphasized that tourists, Locally Stranded Individuals (LSI), APORs, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have different protocols to follow from the locals.

Espinosa said tourists only need to show their booking receipts to show proof that they are only visiting the island-destination, while LSIs will need to present their acceptance letters from their LGUs.

In a related development, Cebu Police Provincial Office Director Colonel Aladdin Collado assured residents that checkpoints and stringent restrictions in Bogo City will be changed soon.

“Rest assured there will be changes in the coming days,” Collado said after some operators expressed their confusion in the continuing use of quarantine pass, implementation of isolation and quarantine measures and requiring medical certificates upon entering the city.

This restriction discourages prospective tourists to visit the island tourist destination.

Collado said he already met with the city officials on the regulations set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) that such restrictive measures are no longer required since the province is already under Modified General Community Quarantine. (Vanessa L. Almeda)