‘Negros Occidental seaports should remain closed’

Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2020 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY , Philippines — The operation of passenger vessels in Negros Occidental should remain suspended until May 31.

In letters to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Robert Empedrad and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) chief Admiral Joel Garcia, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson sought the deferment of the implementation of a Department of Transportation order allowing passenger vessels in the province to resume operations today as Western Visayas shifts to general community quarantine.

Lacson noted that airlines moved the resumption of domestic flights to June 1.

“I believe that it is wise and prudent that all domestic sea travels should resume on the same date,” he said.

Lacson said seaports and airports should remain closed until all stranded Negrenses, including overseas Filipino workers, have returned to the province.

He called on the national government to ”respect the right and authority of the local government to enact measures to protect the health and welfare of its constituents,” citing his executive order which states that borders, airports and seaports in the province shall remain closed until May 31.

On Thursday, PCG-Negros Occidental head Jansen Benjamin said sea trips in the province, except those from areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, would resume on May 18.

Benjamin said only 50 percent of the passenger capacity of vessels would be allowed.

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