Solon asks NTF to exclude Southern Leyte from ‘Hatid Probinsya’ for LSIs

Published July 15, 2020, 11:12 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado appealed to the National Task Force (NTF) Against Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on Wednesday  to exclude Eastern Visayas, particularly his home province, from its nationwide “Hatid Probinsya” operation for locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from July 25 to 26.


The lawmaker said his home province is not yet ready to receive additional LSIs due to the increasing cases of COVID-19 in Southern Leyte.

“For Southern Leyte and Maasin City, Region 8,  we appeal to NTF and Secretary (Carlito) Galvez Jr. to exclude our city and province. Our LGU (local government unit) executives express their lack of capacity to receive additional  LSIs,” Mercado,  a House Deputy Majority Leader, said.

He said Southern Leyte logged “a little less than 100” cases of COVID-19.

“We have reached crisis situation already with our existing positive patients and we have already local residents tested positive of COVID virus. Our community is at risk as I speak.  As the Representative of Southern Leyte, I oppose this plan,” he said.

He said the poor state of Southern Leyte’s  health system has to be addressed first before the province opens its doors to LSIs.

“We are using our dilapidated abandoned hospital and a school building which is not recommended for COVID use due to problems of sanitation,” Mercado said.

“We are more concerned with the infection of our local frontliners. So our community is already compromised. We are concerned and some are committing suicide already.”

Mercado said the Department of Health (DoH) should step in and provide the necessary supplies and equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE). “This should be SOP (standard operating procedure) already. Walang palakasan (No patronage)  in times like this. Protocol is protocol,  no politics. We should make this as an exception.”

Galvez had announced that a nationwide Hatid Probinsya operation for LSIs is set from July 25 to 26 to decongest temporary holding facilities in Metro Manila.

According to him, the trips will include areas where a moratorium on the entry of LSIs was imposed such Western Visayas (Region 6), Eastern Visayas (Region 8), Caraga (Region 13), Cebu Island, and Mactan.

Galvez vowed to meet with the leaders and members of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to explain the new protocols in receiving LSIs.