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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Thursday, May 07, 2020
Through Executive Order No. 14, the Task Force New Normal was created to ensure Cebu Province’s safe and smooth transition from enhanced community quarantine to a general quarantine mode. (Junjie Mendoza)

Even though Covid-19 cases in Cebu Province have been placed under control, transmission from high risk areas is still possible even when the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted unless proper mitigating measures will be put in place.

To properly prepare for a new normal way of life for Cebuanos after ECQ, the Cebu Provincial Government created Task Force New Normal to develop guidelines and protocols to be followed to prevent the pandemic from wreaking havoc in the countryside as the economy is gradually restored. 

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed Executive Order 14 creating the task force wherein the governor sits as chairperson and Capitol consultant on legal affairs Atty. Rory Jon Sepulveda sits as vice chairperson.

The task force shall formulate protocols for the regulation and management of public gatherings and activities to ensure the flow of persons in public spaces are in line with national policies.

It will also provide safety measures and regulations on public transportation, including ticketing lines and interiors of public vehicles, their passengers, drivers, and conductors.

The task force will discuss the protocols that must be observed by all schools within the Province in relation to the holding of classes and other school activities.

An Enhanced Countryside Development Plan shall be developed by the task force boosting the agricultural capacity of the different local government units for them to be self-sufficient.

Lastly, the task force will formulate guidelines and regulations for private sector offices and commercial businesses to be observed upon full resumption of their operations, which would include a New Normal Workforce Management Plan.

These businesses include shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, stores, pharmacies, banks, call centers, salons, parlors, spas, factories, and retail outlets, among others.

To create comprehensive policies and protocols, the different public and private sector will be well-represented in the task force. 

Members of the task force include Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committees on Agriculture, Public Health and Social Services, Commerce and Industry; Departments of Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment, Health, Interior and Local Government, Education, and Agriculture; Commission on Higher Education, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Provincial Health Office, Provincial Agriculturist’s Office, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce, Cebu Chamber of Commerce, Mactan Airline Operators Council, Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association, and Atty. Benjamin Cabrido Jr., consultant to the governor. (Eleanor Valeros)