Soccsksargen to enforce quarantine starting March 23


ISULAN, Sultan Kudarat — The Soccsksargen Region is set to enforce a “general community quarantine” starting Monday in a bid to prevent the spread of 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The decision was reached after a joint meeting Wednesday by the members of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-12) and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC-12).

Under the measure, the movement of people would be limited from one province to another unless for emergency purposes. Those that would be allowed to travel are emergency vehicles, state forces on security missions, cargo trucks with food supplies, health workers with valid identification cards and working outside places of origin.

Hosted by Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Teng Mangudadatu at the provincial capitol here, the joint meeting was attended by provincial governors, city and municipal mayors, as well as representatives from various national government agencies, police and military officials.

“The regional Covid-19 task force was created to have a unified response against the threats of the disease,” said Board Member Philbert Malaluan of North Cotabato, who was chosen as spokesperson for the provincial inter-agency task force on Covid-19.

Malaluan said a coordination mechanism was also established to ensure the effective and successful implementation of the measure beginning 12:01 a.m. of March 23, 2020.

All the local government units across the region, including Maguindanao which borders with the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato, will have uniform curfew hours starting at 9 p.m. until 5 a.m.

North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco assured the province will implement the mechanism established by the RPOC-12 and RDRRMC-12 “for the safety of all against Covid-19.”

Catamco also appealed to Muslim religious leaders from the provinces who recently attended a gathering in Malaysia to come forward and voluntarily submit themselves for quarantine.

National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) said at least 215 Filipino Muslims attended the three-day event in Johore, Malaysia where a spike in Covid-19 cases was reported last week.

The Soccsksargen Region has about 2,000 persons under monitoring and a hundred patients under investigation.

Cotabato City listed one confirmed Covid-19 patient now in isolation at a government hospital in the area.