Bacolod-Iloilo ferry trips resume after lifting of travel ban

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Ferry trips bound for Iloilo have resumed after Mayor Evelio Leonardia ordered the reopening of the borders of Bacolod City to travelers from Iloilo City, Iloilo province and the rest of Panay starting Wednesday afternoon, July 22.

Lt. Commander Jansen Benjamin, chief of Philippine Coast Guard-Negros Occidental, said on Thursday, July 23, that fast crafts and roll-on, roll-off vessels are now operating their regular trips.

Benjamin said Leonardia immediately informed him that the borders of Bacolod have been re-opened to travelers from Iloilo on Wednesday afternoon.

The mayor ordered the closure of the borders of this city to travelers from the neighboring islands of Panay and Guimaras, starting 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21.

This led to the suspension of ferry trips from Bacolod on Wednesday morning, which left some 100 passengers bound for Iloilo City stranded at the Bredco port.

On Wednesday afternoon, Leonardia ordered the lifting of the travel ban after Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas announced that he has reconsidered his earlier order to prohibit the entry of all persons coming from Negros Island, including Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental, starting Wednesday “due to the rising number cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)”.

Leonardia said he has talked to Treñas, Western Visayas’ Department of the Interior and Local Government Regional Director Jovi Ingeniero, and Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez about the matter.

They explained to him the circumstances that led to the closure of Iloilo City’s borders to travelers from Negros Island, he said.

“I also reiterated to them that our position was a form of reciprocity. In conclusion, we all agreed to reopen both borders effective immediately,” Leonardia added.PNA

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