CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri Jr has asked the national government on Wednesday to retain the general community quarantine (GCQ) on the province instead of the low-risk area status that the inter-agency task force intends to declare.

Zubiri’s plea came after the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) issued resolution 35 that classified Northern Mindanao as a low-risk area due to its few cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

To date, Bukidnon has only one confirmed COVID-19 case, that of a barangay leader from Valencia City who attended the cockfighting derby in Davao City.

Interior Secretary and IATF Vice-chair Eduardo Año later announced that they have considered those areas declared as low-risk would be placed under the modified GCQ.

Under the GCQ, there will be resumption of work but with “new normal” practices such as wearing of mask, social distancing, and other health protocols will be enforced.

Under the low-risk status, local governments would adopt minimum health requirements and loosen their community quarantine protocols.

The provincial government issued resolution 2020-1317 appealing to the national government to retain the GCQ status and maintain quarantine control points in the boundaries of the province.

The resolution explained that the declaration could be “premature” and would place Bukidnon residents at risk, since some areas are within boundaries of the city Davao and Cagayan de Oro which have have COVID-19 cases.

“(It is) still premature to let our guards down considering that our neighboring [high urbanized cities] such as Cagayan de Oro City and Davao City respectively have an increasing number of [COVID-19] cases, let alone the entry from the rest of its provincial borders to wit; Cotabato Provinces from the South, Lanao Provinces in the east, and Davao provinces in the west which are still under GCQ,” the resolution reads.

The governor his appeal to the President. “We border so many provinces, we have taken the challenge and we have proven that it can be done by the people of the province,” the governor said, pointing out that Bukidnon is considered the heart of Mindanao.

Zubiri added, “What we are asking is a little more time that until there is no more case.”

Despite its single case of COVID-19, Zubiri said they had prepared the province by purchasing the necessary medical equipment for the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center. (

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