BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
Returning overseas Filipino workers will not be allowed entry to Bacolod on Dec. 24, 25 and 31, and Jan. 1, after the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force in Western Visayas approved the moratorium requested by the city government.
But Councilor Israel Salanga, who is in charge of the returning OFWs, clarified that sweeper flights will still be available for returning OFWs until Dec. 23 while flights will resume on Dec. 26 to 30, and on Jan. 2 onwards.
Returning OFWs have aired dismay on social media, saying that many of them already bought tickets and want to be with their families during the holidays but Salanga said there is nothing to worry about as their plane fares will be shouldered by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
On Dec. 14, Salanga appealed to the RIATF to temporarily suspend the flights of returning OFWs for four days.
Region 6 IATF head secretariat, Christian Naganay, said the Department of Health in Western Visayas, led by Dr. Marlyn Convocar, posed no objection to Salanga’s appeal.
Department of Interior and Local Government Region 6 director Juan Jovian Ingeniero, chairperson of the RIATF, then approved the moratorium on the return of OFWs to Bacolod on those days.
Last week, RIATF also approved the 14-day moratorium sought by the city government of Bacolod on returning locally stranded individuals from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3.
City Administrator Em Ang, who is the executive director of the Emergency Operations Center, earlier emphasized that the moratorium on the return of LSIs and OFWs is necessary to give reprieve to government health workers and ample time for the disinfection of isolation facilities.
Dr. Chris Sorongon, deputy for medical of EOC, meanwhile, said the bans on the entry of LSIs and OFWs will help pull down the number of Covid cases in Bacolod. Returning OFWs are advised to coordinate with the office of Salanga through 435-3604 or 0930-1337332, for inquiries.*