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Inter-island travel pass no longer required

Inter-island travel pass no longer required

BACOLOD City – Officials in Western Visayas have agreed to reopen their borders for inter-island travel, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental announced yesterday.

In a press conference, Lacson said the reopening will start on June 16. Those from Iloilo going to Bacolod and vice versa will no longer be required to secure a travel pass.

However, Lacson said, the province will still continue to implement the earlier proposed health protocols. He said those arriving would still undergo tests for coronavirus disease 2019 and will be required to undergo mandatory home quarantine.

Although travel in Western Visayas is already set to resume, the governor still expressed doubts about opening passenger services between Negros Occidental and Cebu, pointing out the latest coronavirus-positive patient for the province was a locally stranded individual from Cebu.

Lacson said he had a talk with Mayor Renato Gustilo of San Carlos City and the mayor is willing to allow stranded individuals to pass through the city.

“We need to get the permission of Cebu,” Lacson said.

He also confirmed that at least one family is presently stranded in Toledo, and they are currently awaiting permission to board a ferry vessel in order to cross to San Carlos City.

Earlier, the Philippine Coast Guard in Negros Occidental announced that passenger ferry trips between Iloilo and Bacolod will resume on June 15.

PCG-Negros Occidental chief, Lieutenant Commander Jansen Benjamin said the development came after the city government of Bacolod, ferry operators and concerned agencies agreed to push the reoperation of passenger ships with several conditions in place.

Ferry operators still need to apply for a special permit before the Maritime Industry Authority prior to resuming passenger operations.

He added ferry operators will still follow the minimum health protocols set by Marina such as boarding only 50 percent of the vessel’s total seating capacity, requiring passengers to wear face mask at all times, and disinfection of passenger accommodation areas after every trips./PN