Iloilo governor worried over return of LSIs without COVID-19 tests

Published August 28, 2020, 1:46 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. is worried that Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is allowing the return of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) without having them undergo tests for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. of Iloilo province. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)
Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. of Iloilo province. (Tara Yap/Manila Bulletin)

“That is dangerous.  I will be remiss in my responsibility of protecting the borders of this province from COVID-19 if we just say it’s ok to let everyone in, especially from high-risk places,” Defensor pointed out.

The governor was reacting to the memorandum of DILG Assistant Secretary Marcelo Morales that LSIs only needed a travel authority and a medical certificate to be allowed to return to their respective home provinces.

The memorandum also noted that responsibility for COVID-19 swab tests will be shouldered by local government units (LGUs) where the LSIs are from.  This means that LSIs would no longer be tested from their point of origin.

While there are fears that the new DILG memorandum may spike the surge of COVID-19 cases in the province’s 42 towns and component city of Passi, Defensor gave the assurance that the Iloilo provincial government will comply.