LSIs, ROFs barred from returning to Negros Occidental, Bacolod, Iloilo for 2 weeks

Published August 9, 2020, 4:20 PM

by Glazyl Masculino

BACOLOD CITY – The National Inter -Agency Task Force (IATF) against COVID-19 has approved the request of the regional IATF to suspend the repatriation of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) for two weeks to Negros Occidental, Bacolod City and Iloilo City, starting August 8.

The approval was in a memorandum signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, chairman of the National Task Force on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on August 7.

The National Task Force’s approval came after Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia requested that all flights and boat trips of repatriated LSIs and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) be suspended for two weeks.

The proposed moratorium was anchored on the spike of the number of COVID-19 cases in the local government units (LGUs) since the arrival of returning residents, as well as the limited resources and capacity of LGUs to quarantine them.

The regional IATF and the Regional Task Force (RTF) elevated Leonardia’s appeal to the NTF last Friday.

The endorsement was signed by Western Visayas RIATF chair Juan Jovian Ingeniero, who is also the regional director of the DILG; and Western Visayas RTF chair Jose Roberto Nuñez, who is also regional director of the Office of Civil Defense-Department of National Defense (OCC-DND-6). 

The proposed date for the start of the moratorium is on August 8 to August 21, as per RIATF Resolution No. 28. 

The Department of Health (DOH) – Western Visayas posed no objection to the requests, the resolution stated. 

Leonardia said he also requested for airline and shipping companies to provide data of repatriated LSIs and OFWs to the receiving LGUs at least two days before the arrival. 

“If this is approved, it will be a reprieve for our health workers and frontlines after working non-stop for months,” he added.

He believed that if the city strictly impose the health protocols, it will have a better chance in slowing down the COVID-19 spread.

It can be recalled that Leonardia wrote to Nuñez on August 5, requesting the RIATF’s intercession with the NIATF on the city’s request for a moratorium. 

The mayor also communicated to Galvez on the same day, appealing for support on the city’s request with the DepED to allow the city to continually use public schools as quarantine centers as may be needed amid the pandemic.

The mayor also appealed to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac on August 3 for a moratorium.