Marawi LGU seeks suspension of 'Balik Probinsya' after 9 SLIs from Manila return with COVID

By Bonita Ermac

MARAWI CITY -- The local government of Marawi is seeking the suspension of the government's "Balik Probinsya" program after nine new cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lanao del Sur were confirmed among the returning Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (ROFs) from Manila.

(via Bonita Ermac / MANILA BULLETIN) (via Bonita Ermac / MANILA BULLETIN)

"Gusto sana naming sabihan ang national government na kung pwede, medyo stop muna 'yong Balik Probinsya. Dapat dahan-dahan ang pagpapa-uwi ng mga locally stranded individuals and repatriated overseas Filipino workers," said Gov. Mamintal 'Bombit' Adiong, Jr., also chairman of the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

"This does not mean that they will not be allowed to return home as they are constituents here," Adiong said.

He said health protocols should be followed before they are sent home. "Hindi lang iyong rapid test, dapat e-swab para sigurado tayo," he added.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra also appealed to the national government. "Bago pauwiin ang mga kababayan dito sa city at municipalities, ay dapat mag-undergo na ho sila ng rapid testing or the PCR testing from their point of origin."

"Kung magkakaroon ho tayo ng influx nitong mga nagbabalik probinsya without undergoing this mandatory testing doon sa point of origin, ay talagang magkakaproblema kami dito sa Marawi at Lanao del Sur, said Gandamra.

Integrated Provincial Health Officer Dr. Alinader Minalang confirmed on Wednesday during the 13th ATF meeting held here that the nine positive cases of COVID-19, eight of whom are residents of Marawi City and one of Marantao town, all came from Manila.

"Meron tayong nine na na-confirm through our GeneExpert PCR test. So, out of nine na mga LSI, meron tayong walo na nasa Marawi City at iyong isa nasa munisipyo particularly sa Marantao", he said.

The nine are asymptomatic and are being closely monitored at a quarantine facility in barangay Sagonsongan. Should they manifest symptoms of COVID-19, they will be brought to Amai Pakpak Medical Center.

Minalang said the province recorded no COVID-19 positive for 46 days until June 3 when the LSIs started arriving.

The only documents that the LSIs presented were travel orders from the Philippine National Police and medical certificates.

The IATF recorded 18 cases of COVID-19 positive, six recovered, three deaths. It is also awaiting 37 swab test results.