MARAWI CITY –The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is following the national government’s directive to allow the entry of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), said BARMM Spokesperson Naguib Sinarimbo.
Sinarimbo, who is also the region’s Minister of Interior and Local Government, stressed in a radio interview that the LSIs must be accommodated by their respective Local Government Units (LGU) within seven days, as per the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.
LSIs are individuals who were stranded in different areas in the Philippines since the lockdown due to Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The rule under the National IATF guidelines is to require them to have medical certification provided by the LGU where they were stranded. Once they acquire that, they may go home. There’s no need for a certificate of acceptance from the LGU receiving them,” Sinarimbo said.
Sinarimbo mentioned that the certificate of acceptance will only result in gathering up more stranded individuals at borders who won’t be allowed entry, which is opposite to the Philippine president’s directive.
However, he also noted that the said medical certification is not a result of the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test used for tracing Covid-19, since only the patients who possess the common symptoms of the virus are allowed to be tested for RT-PCR.
“The requirement essentially is the medical certification. We, however, advise the LGUs to receive the person but don’t permit them to roam around once they arrive,” he said.
Sinarimbo further advised caution to the LSIs who are going home to have the urgency to protect their families, the community, and to observe quarantine especially to those coming from high-risk identified areas in the country.
“Treat yourself as a potential [risk] and avoid going out,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ROFs have more stringent requirements to follow. Their entry point is in Metro Manila where they will automatically get tested via RT-PCR, before being allowed to go home to their respective provinces.
A technical group consisting of the Ministry of Health (MOH-BARMM), Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG-BARMM), Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE-BARMM), and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has set up help desks in seaports and airports to assist the LSIs and the ROFs.
In the case of the ROFs, Sinarimbo stated that they “want to ensure they are monitored properly and not make unnecessary contact from outside while coordinating with the LGUs that will receive them.”
Furthermore, the Bangsamoro Government through the OWWA has already set up and covered the expenses for the isolation centers and hotel accommodations of the OFWs who will be quarantined.
“They were sent home so that means money is scarce. OWWA has a welfare fund where a portion of their [OFWs] earning goes to the fund handled by OWWA. The expectation is to use the money to pay for the expenses.” Sinarimbo said. (BPI/PIA ICIC)