BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
A moratorium on the entry of Filipino overseas workers to Bacolod during the holidays was sought by the city Emergency Operations Center from the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force in Western Visayas.
City Administrator Em Ang, who is also the executive director of EOC, said that the moratorium they requested is scheduled on Dec. 24, 25 and 31, and on Jan. 1.
The RIATF already granted a moratorium on the arrivals of locally stranded individuals in Bacolod from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3.
The EOC also clarified that the moratorium means that only LSIs coming from outside Region 6 will be disallowed entry to Bacolod.
“The travel moratorium only covers LSIs coming from provinces outside of Region 6. So if you are from Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental, you can visit Bacolod City,” Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical of EOC, said.
However, travel for leisure is still not allowed.
Ang stressed that the moratorium on the return of LSIs and RFOs/OFWs is necessary to give reprieve to government health workers and ample time for the disinfection of isolation facilities.
She said the proposal to require LSIs to submit a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test result in lieu of a swab test upon arrival in Bacolod is also pending.
Ang said Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leornardia is yet to issue an executive order regarding the matter.
Based on the proposal of EOC, the RT-PCR test results to be submitted by LSIs must have been taken 72 hours or three days before the expected arrival in Bacolod.
Sorongon said the moratorium will help pull down the number of Covid cases in Bacolod.
As of Dec. 16, there were six new cases, 13 recoveries, and two deaths in Bacolod. Since the start of the pandemic, the city recorded 5,534 total confirmed cases, with 5,230 recoveries, 131 active cases, and 173 deaths.
Sorongon said they project that, by the end of the week, active cases in Bacolod will be reduced to 70 or 80.
The EOC reiterated yesterday the requirements for residents who wish to enter Bacolod for the holidays.
Authorized persons outside residence (APORs) are required to submit a copy of their government-issued identification cards or company IDs, certificate of employment, and work order or letter of engagement from their company.
Councilor Ayesha Villaflor said these documents must be sent either to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com, and the APORs must wait two to three days for a reply.
LSIs and RFOs are required to email a copy of a medical certificate from the local government unit where they come from, ID showing their address in Bacolod, or certificate of residency and travel authority from the Philippine National Police.
Councilor Cindy Rojas said these requirements should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before the LSIS and RFOs will receive notice or letter of coordination.
She said returning RFOs and LSIs will be swabbed, and while waiting for the result in three to five days, they will either be quarantined for free in the city’s isolation facilities, or they could opt to stay in a hotel or inn at their own expense.
Meanwhile, Councilor Israel Salanga advised returning workers from abroad to look for the help desk of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration on their arrival at the airport, and provide necessary documents.
The OWWA will evaluate the documents before they are tested and quarantined in a nearby hotel, Salanga said.
If the result is negative, they will be scheduled for a sweeper flight to Bacolod and upon arrival at the Silay City airport, they will be briefed and their luggage disinfected, Salanga added.
He said the city bus will pick them up and bring them to their destinations while their names will be given to their respective barangay health emergency response teams for monitoring.
The APORs may inquire through (034) 431-1571, 0938-0147885 or 0977-7261918 while LSIs and RFOs may call 435-3507. Returning overseas workers may contact 435-3604 or 0930-1337332.*