UPDATED: Quarantine checkpoints removal not my idea, says Zubiri

Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr. received major criticism from locals following his order to dismantle the various Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 Quarantine Control Points (QCPs) around the province.

In a memo dated April 30, 2020, Zubiri ordered the removal of COVID-19 QCPs at the city, municipal and barangay levels. He said that there have been “ample complaints” with regard to the checkpoints.

The memo stated that the checkpoints “are drawing criticism from the public as it (sic) hampers the daily movement of the motorist (sic) and residents.”

In the memo, Zubiri also claimed that the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force recommended the removal of the checkpoints.

The quarantine checkpoints established at the provincial and regional borders, however, will remain.

Zubiri’s order, however, drew numerous complaints online. Some residents in Impasugong said that the dismantling of the checkpoints is “too soon.” Residents in other municipalities also shared their worries. “Dili pa ta COVID-19-free. Nganong mag-relax na man ta?,” one wrote.

A lot of Malaybalay City residents also posted their dismay and a hashtag, #AmpleComplaints, even surfaced. A quick trace of the hashtag revealed various opinions:

“Who will man our hospitals?”

“Where are these ample complaints, how many and can these complainants be identified? Basin fake news na.”

“Mas hadlok ang second wave sa virus. Dili unta ta mag kumpyansa.”

Most of the posts also cited the latest COVID-19 bulletin released by the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center as the basis for their concern. As of April 29, 2020, 2 have been considered as “suspect” cases and 4 as “probable.”

UPDATE: As of May 1, 2020, there is now only 1 “suspect” case and 2 “probable” ones.

Meanwhile, earlier today, May 1, 2020, Zubiri signed an advisory that supposedly “clarifies” his earlier order.

In the advisory, the Bukidnon governor insisted that it was PLTCOL Arce Yam-oc who requested the removal of the checkpoints. Yam-oc is the Provincial Commander of the Joint Task Force on COVID-19.

The advisory also reiterated the continuous operation of the QCPs along national highways as well as provincial and regional borders.

The Bukidnon governor, in a video posted online, also expressed his dismay over the criticisms thrown his way. He said that Yam-oc is the one in-charge of the checkpoints and that he merely listened to Yam-oc’s recommendation.

Zubiri also said that he “sacrificed a lot” since the start of the quarantine, including the Php 700 Million in provincial fund savings that he used to buy goods for thousands of families in Bukidnon.

Zubiri, who looked visibly annoyed on the video, also hit unnamed people in Malaybalay who he says complained heavily about the order.

“Sugod karon, ayaw namo mangayo sa ako. Kamong mga taga-Malaybalay kay kasagara sa mga nag-reklamo gikan diha sa inyo. I-uli ninyo ang kuwarta sa ako. Ihatag nako na sa ubang lugar. Php 84 Million ang gihatag nako diha sa inyo. Ayuda,” he said, reiterating that it was not his idea to remove the QCPs.

Zubiri also apologized on video for his temper.

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