Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Saturday that it is the stand of the Bacolod City government that all Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) arriving in the city should be facility quarantined and swabbed for RT-PCR tests to ensure that they are COVID free, before they are allowed to return to their homes.
He also appealed to the National Inter-Agency Task Force to grant an additional moratorium on returning ROFs and LSIs until September 30.
Leonardia also appealed that LGUs be given advance 2-day notice before any boat or plane trip is scheduled for returning residents to assess if the City has room for them in its quarantine facilities at that point in time.
“We cannot over-emphasize the reality that our COVID-19 situation is worsening and we need the help of the national government to ease our burdens and ensure a greater measure of protection for our people,” Leonardia said in a letter to the chairpersons of both the Western Visayas Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (WVRIATF) and Western Visayas Regional Task Force (WVRTF) in appealing that the regional agencies favorably endorse Bacolod’s urgent appeals to the National IATF.
“We appeal that our local health protocols on returning residents be respected,” wrote Leonardia Friday in a letter addressed to DILG-6 OIC-regional director Juan Jovian Ingeniero, who chairs the WVRIATF, and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 6 regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez, chair of the WVRTF, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said.
Leonardia was reacting to a directive of the NTF dated August 19 mandating that arriving ROFs be brought directly to their homes upon their arrival at the airport or seaport, and should no longer be subject to local health protocols by the receiving LGU, presumably because these ROFs have already tested negative for coronavirus at their last stop before embarking on the final leg of their trip home, the press release said.
The mayor said NIATF, for its part, also issued Resolution No. 67 dated August 31, which requires the “immediate facility-based quarantine or isolation of all returning citizens, suspect, and probable cases”.
The mayor said that between the two national directives, the Bacolod LGU will have to comply with NIATF Resolution No. 67 as this is “congruent with our present health protocols and will provide greater protection for our people.”
“This is to most respectfully inform you of the stand of our (Bacolod) LGU that ROFs and LSIs coming home to Bacolod need to be facility-quarantined and swabbed first (under RT-PCR method) when they arrive here, before they are allowed to finally proceed home,” the mayor said.*