TACLOBAN City – As more and more locally stranded individuals (LSIs) cram the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila to avail of the government’s transportation assistance under the Hatid Tulong Program (HTP), Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez urged President Duterte to fire the person in charge of the program “for insensitivity and no regard for public health.”
Gomez expressed concern over the lack of physical distancing at the coliseum where over 9,000 LSIs, who want to return to their respective provinces, have come in droves.
“Who is your person in charge of this program? I am sorry but in my opinion, that person doesn’t know what he is doing in organizing something as big as this,” Gomez said in an open letter.
“He cannot tell people to be in an orderly manner. No social distancing for more than two days,” he added.
“How many of them will be infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as they head home to their provinces this week because of this arrangement!?” he asked.
The mayor also appealed to the National Inter-agency Task Force to limit the arrivals of LSIs in the local government units as some have already reached the maximum capacity in their quarantine facilities.
“We cannot be overwhelmed with the arrival of returnees, otherwise it will be chaotic to those who have limited quarantine facilities,” he lamented.
He added that the arrangement will suit those who prefer home quarantine, but he pointed out that it was not an effective way to address the COVID-19 situation in the country.
“We can only accept 20 returnees per day because there are uncoordinated individuals who arrive and we need to have that leeway,” he shared referring to a letter he sent to the IATF, Office of the Civil Defense, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Ormoc City, once COVID-free has been tagged as an emerging hotspot in June due to the increasing number of COVID cases, mostly coming from LSIs and returning OFWS.
It recorded the most number of cases among the cities in Eastern Visayas with 64. Of these, 63 have recovered with only one active case as of July 25.