The borders between Negros Oriental and Occidental remain closed despite local government units ceasing border checkpoints due to exhaustion and lack of funds.

In Negros Oriental, the municipalities of Mabinay and Vallehermiso have stopped border checkpoints, citing financial and logistical reasons.

“This is in line with a National IATF Resolution No. 79 that allows interzonal and intrazonal movement of people from areas or provinces with similar quarantine classification,” said the Municipality of Mabinay in a statement.

However, Bimbo Miraflor, Negros Oriental spokesman, said the actions of both LGUs “need approval from the Regional IATF (interagency task force).”

Miraflor explained that passing through the borders did not mean automatic entry to the neighboring cities of Bais and Guihulngan, respectively.

“We ask the two LGUs put out border controls while the province is still waiting funds for those personnel who will be detailed to continue border control in Mabinay ug Vallehermoso,” he said.

Miraflor said the executive order of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo on strict border control remained in effect.

“The easing of LGU border controls in Mabinay and Vallehermoso will not assure the travelling public of easy entry into the province without securing the necessary documentary requirements for travel, and following the minimum health protocols,” he said.

The Negros Occidental provincial administrator, Rayfrando Diaz also the provincial task force spokesman, said Gov. Bong Lacson and the 31 mayors had reached a consensus to keep the province closed to non-essential travel.

“We cannot presume to enter Negros Oriental without coordinating with the IATF (task force),” he said.

Degamo called a meeting in mid-January between the two provincial task forces to discuss the possibility of opening the border. 

Lacson however maintained the closure due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the Negros  Oriental side. Ryan Sorote