By Joseph Jubelag
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — Mayor Ronnel Rivera has expressed support for the Regional Inter Agency-Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19’s decision to extend the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in entire SOCCSKSARGEN Region until June 30.
SOCCSKSARGEN includes the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani, and the cities of General Santos and Cotabato.
Rivera said the regional IATF has approved a resolution on May 27 to extend the implementation of MGCQ for the entire region upon the recommendation of local government units, which expressed apprehension on the possible local transmission of the virus with the influx of returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and local residents previously stranded elsewhere.
“The mayors and governors in Region 12 [have] expressed their apprehension [for] the influx of OFWs and stranded local residents who will be allowed to come home [to] their localities,” Rivera said.
The mayor said there are some 180 OFWs who had already arrived in General Santos City and are currently undergoing mandatory quarantine in several local hotels and pension houses in the city, as arranged by local government.
Rivera stressed that there are 1,400 local residents who had requested for assistance from the city government to facilitate their return after they were stranded in Luzon and Visayas when an enhanced community quarantine was implemented two months earlier.
With the influx of returning OFWs and stranded local residents, Rivera said the city government will be hiring additional health personnel to help in the monitoring and profiling of these returning residents into the 26 villages of the city.
General Santos City has remained COVID-free, a month after its lone confirmed COVID-19 patient recovered.