LGU and business sector agree not to lift restrictions in Bacolod City

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NIGS. The local government is not keen on lifting the curfew in the city of Bacolod, which the business sector is also supportive of despite the downward trend in Covid-19 cases. (photo Erwin P. Nicavera)

“IT WILL STAY.”

That was the response from Bacolod Councilor Archie Baribar, who drafted the curfew ordinance, amid calls for restrictions to be lifted given the city is now below Alert Level 1 in terms of transmission of the risk of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The curfew period in effect in the capital of Negros Occidental is from midnight to 4 am.

That’s shorter than the previous 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew hours following the city’s alert status downgrade on March 1, 2022.

“Whatever our alert level, I doubt we will lift the curfew,” Baribar told SunStar Bacolod on Sunday March 6, adding that the city’s status of being under alert level 1 will only last 15 days.

“It defeats the purpose of regulating things if we remove the curfew,” he said.

For his part, the chief executive of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), Frank Carbon, said he was in favor of shortening the curfew instead of lifting it.

Carbon, also vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for the Visayas, said there was no need to lift the curfew because there are no more customers in the after midnight.

He said if the curfew was lifted, peace and order in the city could be affected.

Without the curfew, minors can just roam freely around the city and can cause trouble on the streets, the entrepreneur said.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia disagreed with the lifting of the curfew, saying “maybe we’re celebrating too early.”

The city of Bacolod has been placed under Alert Level 1 until March 15.

Meanwhile, the local business sector is set to have a dialogue with the city government to discuss an updated economic recovery plan as Covid-19 cases in the city of Bacolod are in decreasing.

Carbon said the economic stimulus package the city gave them was already outdated.

MBCCI records showed that at least 20% of businesses in the city had yet to reopen after being forced to close at the height of the pandemic.

Carbon said some of the businesses that have reopened have adapted a work schedule for their employees while others have reduced the number of their employees.

He said they hoped for more job creation and increased economic spending to alleviate the current situation of the business sector which has been heavily hit by the ongoing pandemic.

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