Iloilo City mayor furious over uncoordinated arrivals of OFWs

ILOILO CITY— Mayor Jerry Treñas has once again decried the uncoordinated arrivals of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) that has led to severe lack of isolation sites here.

Mayor Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)
Mayor Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“There will be chaos. Each is coming up with protocols without following protocols,” Treñas snapped.

The mayor of the regional capital raised his voice during a Monday virtual meeting with the Western Visayas regional task force on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Is there total breakdown? Can somebody tell me if the government is still working?” Treñas asked officials of different government agencies.

Over the weekend, hundreds of OFWs arrived without the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA-6) coordinating with the city government or any other local government in Iloilo province. 

This sent city government scampering to remedy the situation by looking for available isolation sites as most of the hotels, motels, inns, and public schools in the city were already occupied by those suspected to have COVID-19, the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and OFWs who previously arrived.

For its part, OWWA-6 blamed the Department of Health (DOH-6) that runs the COVID-19 testing laboratory at Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) for the delay in the release of test results of suspected COVID-19 cases that were also being isolated in the city’s facilities.

“DOH cannot come up with results. OWWA cannot pay for the hotels. What is happening?” Treñas pointed out.

Treñas also expressed his displeasure that hotels and resorts in some towns of Iloilo province were not opening their doors to accommodate OFWs or LSIs.  This prompted Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. to ask the hotel and resort establishments to welcome the returning Ilonggos.