LGUs can implement executive orders that will help their locality handle COVID-19 better.
Aklan recently issued Executive Order No. 003, Series of 2021 adopting and implementing certain provisions of Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum No. 2020-0439 on Prevention, Detection, Isolation, Treatment, and Reintegration Strategies for COVID-19 as well as guidelines in handling probable, suspect and confirmed cases and their high risk contacts in the Province of Aklan, particularly in the island of Boracay.
The latest executive order intends to strengthen implementation of the DOH memorandum in the province particularly in the island, as all tourism workers are subjected to Reverse Transmission Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Testing, and to implement provisions of the memorandum on surveillance, contact tracing and quarantine/isolation as part of the COVID-19 response.
Per the E.O., all accommodation establishments in the island of Boracay are mandated to provide an isolation/quarantine facility for probable, suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. The facility can also be used as a holding area before the conformed case is shipped out of the island.
The E.O. also mandates that all local government units must have their quarantine/isolation facilities in their respective areas.
As to health and safety protocols for accommodation establishments, guests/tourists, who are found to be probable or suspected cases must be referred to the COVID Response Team of the Ciriaco S. Tirol Hospital (CSTH), the hospital in Boracay Island, for proper management.
If found to have moderate symptoms, the guest will be subjected to swabbing at CSTH and will then be transferred to the quarantine facility of the Municipality of Malay.
If found negative, the guest will be allowed to return to his hotel or return home, but if positive, he or she has to complete the 10-day quarantine at the facility.
If the guest develops severe or critical symptoms at the facility, he/she will be transferred to the designated health facility of the province – the Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital (DRSTMH) in Kalibo.
As for employees/workers/staff of tourism-related establishments in the island like hotels, resorts, inns and restaurants, if any of them develops symptoms while at work or at the staff house, he/she must be assessed by the Heath and Safety Officer of the establishment and if the worker manifests symptoms attributable to COVID-19, he/she shall be referred to the COVID-19 Response Team of the CSTH.
If patient is a suspect or probable case, he/she will be subjected to swabbing and then referred to the isolation/quarantine facility of the Municipality of Malay.
If found positive, the worker will remain at the isolation facility of LGU-Malay unless he/she develops severe or critical symptoms, then he/she wil be transferred to the DRSTMH.
The worker will undergo the same process as with the guest if found a suspect or probable case, only that if found negative, he/she will be released to his/her employer.
The E.O. also directs that all employees/workers/staff subjected to swabbing for RT-PCR test whether conducted during the mass testing or as entry or re-entry requirement of the establishment, shall not be allowed to report for work/duty until the negative result is released and made known to the establishment and to the worker.
Those workers who tested positive during the mass testing shall be immediately isolated and brought to the Municipal Ligtas COVID Center (LCC) of Malay and if he/she develops moderate to severe symptoms attributable to COVID-19, he/she will be transferred to the DRSTMH.
The E.O. mandates employers not to allow the workers to leave the island after having been found negative of COVID-19 even on their day off from work unless for a valid and reasonable ground to be determined by the employers.
Employees/workers allowed to leave the island on official business or for valid reason shall return to the island of Boracay within 12 hours, otherwise, they have to be quarantined/isolated in the facility of the establishment for not more than 7 days for proper monitoring and observation by the health and safety officer of the establishment.
As for government employees and workers, all those coming from within the province of Aklan shall be allowed entry in Boracay Island without need of Antigen Test or RT-PCR Test, provided, that their travel to the island is on official business/time, with travel order issued by their office and to present a government issued ID to be surrendered at Caticlan or Tabon Port, and their stay in the island shall only be between 8 o’clock a.m. to 8 o’clock p.m.
On the other hand, all private individuals coming from within Aklan with official transaction in the island of Boracay shall be allowed to enter without need for Antigen Test or RT-PCR Test result provided that they will only stay in the island for not more than 8 hours from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and shall present and surrender their government-issued ID at the port of entry and to divulge their point of destination in the island.
For Aklanons entering the island whether workers or government employees having transaction in the island, they must register as a local Aklanon under the QR system of the province.
For Boracay residents, adult ones are mandated through their respective Punong Barangays to secure the Boracay ID with QR Code as residents at the Caban Jetty Port Management for Contact Tracing Purposes.
The E.O. stressed that non-compliance with the provisions shall be dealt with in accordance with existing laws, republic acts, issuances, memoranda or order of the duly constituted authorities.