February 5, 2023

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas has issued Executive Order 2020-032 setting the general community quarantine guidelines in the province. 

Traveling outside Benguet for work purposes will be allowed provided that the point of destination is not considered a high-risk area. Non-residents working in Benguet shall also be allowed entry to the province provided that the point of origin is not a high-risk area.

Exempted from the restriction are health workers, responders, frontliners, police and military personnel, and other government employees whose work station is in Benguet.

Persons below 21 and 60 years old and above, those with immunodeficiency and other health risks, and pregnant women from Benguet are not allowed to go out unless obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.

Precautionary measures are mandatory wearing of face masks; physical distancing of at least one meter apart in all public areas; regular sanitation of homes, workplaces, vehicles, markets, and all public places; and provision of handwash stations or alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers for all clients in workplaces, establishments, markets, and groceries.

Outdoor exercises are allowed except contact sports.

Transportation

Transportation will operate subject to the guidelines of the Department of Transportation for the management of emerging infectious diseases.

The transport of goods and commodities, such as but not limited to, food, medicines, supplies, gas, and fuel shall remain unhampered and the clustering of the municipalities supplying vegetables to the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center, and Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal will continue.

Further, all motorists traveling to other regions passing by the province shall be allowed entry subject to health protocols set at the quarantine checkpoints. Public utility vehicles shall limit their number of passengers as per guidelines set by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.

There will also be continuous movement of all types of cargos of food, essential goods, basic commodities, and essential agricultural and fishery inputs and products, provided proper documentation is presented to the authorities.

“Asymptomatic drivers and helpers are not obliged to undergo mandatory 14-day home quarantine,” the governor stated. 

Industries

allowed

Work in government offices may commence at full operational capacity or under alternative work arrangements depending on the concerned agencies.

Industries allowed during the GCQ are those in the agriculture sector; manufacturing and processing plants such as food and beverages (non-alcoholic drinks), essential and hygiene products (soap, detergents, shampoo) and disinfectants; medicines and vitamins; medical products such as PPE and gloves; pet food, feeds, and fertilizers.

Also allowed are hospitals, medical clinics and health clinics, subject to strict health standards and observance of infection and control protocols; retail establishments (groceries, supermarkets, convenience stores, public markets, pharmacies, and drug stores); laundry shops; restaurants but only for take-out and delivery services; water refilling stations; logistics service providers; and delivery services.

In operation would be power, energy, water, information technology and telecomunications supplies and facilities, waste disposal services, and property management and building utility services; real estate activities; gasoline stations; construction workers accredited by the Department of Public Works and Highways; manufacturing companies and suppliers of construction materials; and media establishments.

Other sectors allowed to operate but only at 50 percent of its workforce are manufacturing activities such as wood products, non-metallic products, textiles/apparels, tobacco products, paper and plastic products, computer electronic products, motor vehicles, electrical equipment, mining and quarrying, computer repair, and household goods.

Also allowed to operate at 50 percent workforce only are office administrative businesses such as photocopying, billing, and record keeping services; those providing accommodations for guests with existing long-term bookings, distressed overseas Filipino workers, stranded Filipinos or foreign nationals, repatriated OFWs and non-OFWs, healthcare workers and other employees from exempted establishments during GCQ; funeral and embalming service; veterinary clinics; and security and investigation activities.  

Others include business processing and outsourcing establishments; banks, money transfers, microfinance; capital markets; legal and accounting; management consultancy activities; architecture and research development; motion picture, video and TV program production, sound recording; employment activities; photography services; malls and commercial centers that are non-leisure services; and barbershops and salons subject to strict health standards. 

Prohibited

Prohibited to operate are gyms or fitness studios and sports facilities, entertainment industries like cinemas, theaters, karaoke bars, and pubs; kids amusement industries; libraries and other cultural center art galleries, gardens; tourist destinations; gambling and betting; personal care services such as massage parlors and sauna.

Diclas signed the  GCQ guidelines on May 15.

The 13 Benguet municipalities also crafted their respective GCQ guidelines. – Ofelia C. Empian