SUSPENDED. The screenshot shows three of four types of quarantine passes issued by Mayor Edgardo Labella to residents of Cebu City last March. Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the suspension of all 250,000 quarantine passes issued by the Cebu City local government effective 10 p.m. on Tuesday (June 23, 2020). (Screengrab from Cebu City Hall photo)

CEBU CITY – Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Tuesday ordered the suspension of 250,000 enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) passes issued by the city government to residents here.

The suspension took effect at 10 p.m. on Tuesday but with no definite period as to its effectivity.

Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, chief of the Police Regional Office 7 (Central Visayas), confirmed the suspension on the use of passes.

“Yes. Quarantine passes issued by the Cebu City Hall will no longer be honored. The residents cannot go out of their barangay. Only those essential workers are allowed,” Ferro said in a radio interview.

He said the decision to suspend quarantine passes was part of the strategy seen by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and its regional counterpart to be an effective approach to address the rising number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections here.

Col. Cydric Earl Tamayo, Cebu City Police officer-in-charge, issued a memo addressed to all 11 station commanders in the city, instructing them to implement Año’s order suspending the quarantine passes.

“In this regard, all station commanders are directed to identify a holding area, preferably a gymnasium, to hold those apprehended violators of the foregoing directives,” Tamayo’s memo read.

He directed the station commanders “to strengthen the security in your respective Barangay Control Points and to deploy PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel as BCP supervisor."

“Likewise, you are directed and encouraged to submit (a) report to those uncooperative barangays officials within your respective AORs (areas of responsibility),” Tamayo said.

The chief implementer of the country's National Policy Against Covid-19, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., led other task force officials in coming to Cebu on Tuesday to announce their intensified approach in solving the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the city.

At least 10 barangays in the city that have the most number of Covid-19 cases are considered placed under “hard lockdown” to pave the way for the strict implementation of quarantine protocols down to the village level.

These barangays are Mambaling, Cebu City Jail area, Luz, Labangon, Suba, Kamputhaw, Tejero, Sambag 2, Duljo-Fatima, and Basak San Nicolas.

Mayor Edgardo Labella has yet to release a statement on the order to suspend the quarantine passes he issued to the residents last March. (PNA)