CATARMAN, Northern Samar — The implementation of Executive Order No. 01-03-20 placing the entire province of Northern Samar under General Community Quarantine is strictly being enforced in this province comprising of 24 towns and 569 barangay.

The Executive Order signed by Governor Edwin Ongchuan on March 17 is anchored on the 1987 Constitution, Section 15 of Article II which states that “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them,” as well as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Proclamation No. 922 declaring the State of Public Health Emergency throughout the country, among others.

Thus, in order to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the province is now placed under General Community Quarantine where the movement of the people of Northern Samar are limited to work, access to basic needs, and for quarantine and uniformed personnel to watch the border points.

Specified in the EO provides that the said declaration is subject to the continuing evaluation and assessment by the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 whick took effect on March 19, 2020 to April 15, 2020.

All towns were directed to implement the non-essential entry and exit of the people to and from Northern Samar either by land, sea or air especially those in high risk or infected, 60 years old and above, immunocompromised or with co-morbidities and pregnant women. All person entering and leaving the province shall be checked for signs and symptoms but the movement of cargoes shall be unhampered.

Exempted to the restrictions are health workers, members of PNP and AFP, those travelling for medical and humanitarian reasons, those providing basic services and public utilities, essential skeletal workforce, returning residents, members of the Provincial Health Board and Provincial Inter-Agency task Force and cargo vehicles including drivers and helpers.

Establishment of checkpoints or border patrol is also emphasized to be manned by PNP, AFP, PHO, PDRRMO and LGU concerned, MHO, barangay officials, BFP and Philippine Coast Guard.

The EO declares the suspension of classes in all levels in public and private schools until April 14, 2020 and curfew hours from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting March 19, 2020.

Suspension and postponement of public gatherings was also stressed in the EO to include gatherings which draw a large number of people in barangays and towns such as assemblies, fiestas and festivals, reunions, fairs, concerts, games and sports, religious and other public events.

Preventive and safety measures should also be implemented in public transportation in all types of public utility vehicles to include frequent disinfection and sanitation in terminals and vehicles and provision of alcohol, hand sanitizer and hand soap for passengers and employees.

Public and private sectors are also strongly encouraged to formulate, implement and enforce preventive and safety measures, and all residents returning who arrived in the province are likewise instructed to submit themselves to their respective BHERT and undergo home quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival.

With the EO, PNP Provincial Director Col. Reynaldo Dela Cruz send calls on Nortehanons to abide with the EO specially on the enforcement of curfew and checkpoints. (LDL/ADiaz/PIA-Northern Samar)