BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The quarantine facilities of local government units in Negros Occidental are now overwhelmed with locally stranded individuals, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday.
Diaz said that about 600 Negrense LSIs are arriving on Dec. 20 through the Bacolod-Silay Airport, after Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson approved the requests of two airline companies to each have one inbound and outbound flight on that day.
“We are bracing for all the logistical challenges. Our team is preparing and ready to swab all those coming in,” Diaz said.
The approval of inbound flights on Dec. 20 was an offshoot of the suspension of flights to Negros Occidental on Dec. 24 and 25, as well as Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, that was already approved by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force.
Diaz said Lacson has given instructions to accommodate all returning LSIs, who want to come home during the holidays to be with their families.
“We will take care of them as long as there is space in our quarantine facilities. Nobody will be turned down,” he stressed.
Diaz said the provincial government is now absorbing a lot of LSIs from other LGUs, whose quarantine centers are already overwhelmed with more than their capacity.
“We are now fully utilizing Cadiz and Silay quarantine centers for that purpose,” he said, adding that they are also preparing the Mambukal mountain resort, if needed.
Diaz said the provincial government asked the airline companies to prioritize Negrense LSIs, and not those on leisure travel.
He reiterated that all LSIs will remain in the quarantine facilities until their test results for coronavirus will come out negative as part of the health protocol.
As of Dec. 15, the RIATF Western Visayas approved the moratorium on the arrivals of LSIs in 18 cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental, mostly starting next week until January.
Diaz also clarified that there is no lockdown in any area of Negros Occidental on Dec. 20, contrary to reports being circulated in the social media, but only the suspension of entry of LSIs in some LGUs.
He also lauded the 31 towns and cities of Negros Occidental for strictly implementing health protocols. “Some LGUs are strict even if one comes from within the province. If you can’t show a negative RT-PCR test, they will not let you enter their borders,” Diaz said, adding that Capitol is adjusting to all unexpected incidents.*