By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases enjoined all local government units (LGUs) to allow the docking of maritime vessels in their ports to assist overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coming home to the country.
In a virtual presser, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the call to LGUs was pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 18 that ensures the unhampered transit of OFWs who completed the 14-day quarantine and those who will undergo the mandatory two-week isolation for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“All LGUs are enjoined to allow the docking of maritime vessels in their ports, as well as to allow the disembarkation and transit of the aforementioned OFWs to their ultimate destination in the country,” he said Sunday, citing IATF Resolution No. 22.
According to Nograles, LGUs should allow OFWs to pass through checkpoints, especially if they had been cleared by the Department of Health (DOH).
“Pauwiin nyo po ang mga OFW natin at payagan nyo po ang pagdaong ng mga barko para makauwi sila sa kanilang mga bayan. Sila po ay binibigyan ng sertipikasyon bilang patunay na tapos na ang kanilang quarantine (Allow OFWs to come home and allow ships to dock so our fellow Filipinos can return to their loved ones. They were given those certificates as proof of their completion of the quarantine),” he said.
“Libu-libong milya ang kanilang tinahak para makauwi. Ang daming protocol po na sinusundan para po makabalik sila sa bansa. Kaya pauwiin nyo na po sila. Hindi po sila banta sa kalusugan ng inyong mga bayan (They travelled thousands of miles and followed numerous protocols just to come home so please allow them. They are not a threat to the safety of your towns),” he added.
Nograles earlier said that LGUs cannot issue executive orders or ordinances that would contradict IATF Resolution No. 18.
This month, the IATF approved the interim guidelines on the repatriation of overseas Filipinos working in cruise ships.
The Bureau of Quarantine was likewise directed to update the existing algorithm for the triage of patients with possible coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection in ports of entry, which shall apply to land-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who may be repatriated through the efforts of the national government.
A sub-technical working group (TWG) was also directed to formulate guidelines to manage and ensure the welfare of repatriated OFWs. The said group is composed of the departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Tourism (DOT), Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Health (DOH).