ILOILO – People from within Western Visayas can once again freely enter this province. Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. lifted yesterday the border restrictions he imposed on July 1. Region 6 shifted to MGCQ on June 1 – a transition phase between GCQ and the “new normal” when restrictions are further relaxed and become less necessary such as limiting people’s movement and public transportation, the operation of industries, and the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce community quarantine./PN In Executive Order No. 128-F that Defensor issued yesterday, the following are free to cross the province’s borders: * government officials, uniformed personnel and personnel travelling in the performance of their functions * health and emergency frontline personnel and duly authorized Humanitarian Assistance Actors (HAA/s) * residents of Iloilo City, the provinces of Guimaras,Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City travelling therefrom, and into the province On July 6 during the meeting of the Western Visayas inter-agency task force on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), provincial governors of Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and Aklan agreed to relax their respective border controls. * overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) returning to the province in trips organized by and under the auspices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and Bacolod City remain under a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ, “moderate risk”). Data from the Department of Health (DOH) yesterday showed Region 6’s COVID-19 cases at 395 – Aklan, six; Antique, 15; Capiz, six; Guimaras, zero; Iloilo province, 41; Negros Occidental, five; Bacolod City, 11; Iloilo City, 36; and repatriates, 275. “The changes in the community quarantine system are only temporary and subject to change,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. “Kasi habang nagmi-meeting ang IATF nababago po ang kanilang guidelines.” The other Western Visayas provinces – Aklan, Antique and Guimaras – remain under MGCQ, too, but Health secretary Francisco Duque said these areas were now considered “low risk” for the transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). * persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons * persons granted passage to the airport for travel abroad, or from the airport to the border, provided that the travel within the province shall be non-stop from the border to the airport or vice versa But while the lifting of border restrictions was agreed, according to Iloilo Provincial Administrator Suzette Mamon, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and related agencies were reminded to further strengthen their operation against the illegal entry of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and undocumented persons from other regions via seaports. Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental sent a representative while Aklan’s Gov. Florencio Miraflores joined “virtually.” The shift to “low risk MGCQ” for Aklan, Antique and Guimaras was decided after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recalibrated its community quarantine system by removing the “new normal” category. Monday’s regional inter-agency task force meeting held at Casa Real de Iloilo was attended by Gov. Esteban Contreras of Capiz, Gov. Samuel Gumarin of Guimaras, Mayor Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City, and Governor Defensor.