A year after his suspension due to a politically-motivated graft case, Governor Joseph C. Cua reassumes his post this Thursday, April 30, 2020, with his primary goal as keeping the coronavirus at bay through the strict implementation of quarantine protocols.
Sources close to the governor told the Tribune that Gov. Cua will issue an executive order directing law enforcers, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to keep arriving cargo truck drivers and their helpers confined at the two ports until their return to the mainland.
A similar protocol will be implemented at the Virac airport, following criticism leveled on capitol officials after it allowed the commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command, Lt. General Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. AFP, accompanied by Commodore Jose Ma. Ambrosio of the Naval Forces of Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL), Col. Tommy Deliva of the Philippine Army’s 83rd Infantry Battalion, and PLt. Col. Julius D. Guadamor, of PNP Regional Mobile Force Batallion 5, to brief provincial and local officials on the status of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Catanduanes.
Instead of just holding the briefing in relative isolation at the airport’s VIP room, the visiting officials, accompanied by a retinue of counterparts from the locality, motored to the capitol building where they held a conference with then-Acting Gov. Shirley Abundo, then Acting Vice Gov. Lorenzo Templonuevo Jr., Virac Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr., other provincial officials, government media and other guests in the crowded conference room at the third floor.
Parlade told the group he would not recommend the lifting of the ECQ on the island, which was realized a week later with the extension of the quarantine until May 15, 2020.
Last week, AKO Bicol party-list Reps. Elizaldy Co and Alfredo Garbin also arrived in Virac onboard a private helicopter just to deliver 15 PPE suits, five (5) face shields, 200 boxes surgical masks, and 50 COVID test kits for the Virac municipal government.
To their credit, however, the turnover to Mayor Sarmiento was held at the arrival area of the Virac Airport in the presence of then Acting Gov. Abundo.
The duly elected chief executive, who was not barred from assuming his post on June 30, 2019, was not entirely absent from the people’s view during his suspension, donating 100 COVID-19 rapid test kits to Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) and even attending a meeting discussing COVID-19 protocols regarding cargo trucks arriving at the ports.