This city is set to be placed under “community quarantine” on March 16 (Monday) as part of efforts to make the locality coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19)-free.
Cotabato City has long been considered as a “melting pot” or center of trade and commerce in Central Mindanao considering its proximity to the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat, among others.
“However, the city government has deemed it necessary to impose strict precautions considering that it is an open city and people from its nearby towns freely go in and out on a daily basis,” Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said in a statement on Sunday.
While under community quarantine, the mayor said movements of people inside the city would be limited considering that there has already been a recorded death in a nearby province apart from the nationwide death toll.
“I would like to inform the constituents of Cotabato City that the community quarantine that we will be implementing is just a precautionary measure. We do not want this virus to enter our city and affect our citizens that is why we are doing all we can to assure their safety,” Guiani-Sayadi said.
She said people coming here will undergo profiling by the city police, as they will be given forms to fill up while queueing up at checkpoints at all entry points of the city.
Thermal body scanners would also be made available for use at the checkpoints.
A medical team will be on standby at the checkpoints to do the necessary procedures once a person who enters the city has a high body temperature.
Those exempted from filling up the profile form are residents of Cotabato City, requiring them to present proper identification documents at the checkpoints for easy reference.
Those who are not residents but are working inside the city and those who own businesses inside the city should be able to present identification cards and/or copies of business permits.
The delivery of goods and other commodities will be allowed but still subject to profiling at the checkpoints.
“These are just the initial measures that we will be implementing while under community quarantine. As time passes by and we will need stricter regulations, we will inform the public the soonest possible time”, the mayor said.
Work will not be suspended in the city but the government and private institutions are encouraged to implement flexible working hours.
More so, schools in all levels here are directed to suspend their classes beginning March 16.
Meanwhile, those who do not have urgent businesses in Cotabato City are discouraged to enter to limit the movements and the interactions of people.
Other guidelines for the course of the quarantine period include the staying home of city residents unless they come out to work, buy food and medicines, go to the hospital and other urgent matters.
Mass gatherings are canceled but government work will not be disrupted.
People are required to procure services and buy goods online.
Bank transactions online are also encouraged.
Public transportation will still be available as cargo deliveries will still be allowed. Jail visitations are canceled.
Malls, restaurants, and hotels are required to establish sanitation zones and mandatory temperature checks at the entrance of the establishments.
As for city government protocols at the city hall, there will be no flag raising and retreat on Mondays and Fridays in the local government unit.
Cleanliness in the work surrounding is strictly ordered for implementation.
Personal follow-ups in offices are allowed but phone or email transactions are also encouraged, subject to connectivity.
All approved personal and official travels are revoked as employees with recent travels to areas with local Covid-19 transmission must undergo self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and must secure clearance from the city health office before reporting back to work.
Guiani-Sayadi said community quarantine status of the city would stay in place up to the time President Rodrigo Duterte would lift his State of Public Health Emergency directive.
Source: Philippines News Agency