CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stated guidelines to be followed by locally stranded individuals (LSIs) as they return to their home region or province during the NorMin COVID-19 Response Task Force press conference, May 15, here.
Based on the National Task Force (NTF) guideline against COVID-19 Order No. 2020-002, protocols should be followed as to receiving of LSIs, facilitating the transfer and escorting or turning over the LSIs to their home province.
DILG-10 Regional Director Arnel Agabe said LSIs should first inform their relatives and the LGU where they are currently located about their situation. Doing so will allow the right office to process the request.
Securing requirements at current location
Information including the LSI’s current location, home province, name, and the number of persons who would want to go back to their place should be provided to the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF).
After obtaining the needed information, the LGU of origin will be the one to issue the medical certificate of the LSIs.
“One of which is of course kinahanglanon nga ipaundergo ni sila ug 14-day nga quarantine prior to their departure ug siguraduhon pud nga kining atong mga locally stranded individuals dili usa ka contact, wala’y contact, dili suspect, dili probable nor a confirmed a COVID-19 case,” Agabe said.
(there is a need for them to undergo the 14-day quarantine prioro to their departure to make sure that a locally stranded individual is not a contact [of a COVID-19 confirmed patient], did not have a contact, not a suspect, probable nor a confirmed COVID-19 case)
Once the LSI is identified as a confirmed COVID-19 patient, he or she will be refered to the LGU for isolation. Before the patient is discharged, there will be two reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to be conducted until he or she will get negative COVID-19 result.
After securing the medical certificate, the authority to travel will be given by the commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) for COVID Shield and for the region, Gen. Rolando Anduyan serves as the commander.
The concerned government agency will then facilitate the transportation of the LSI from the point of origin upto the latter’s home region or province.
“Prior to departure, the LGU of origin will submit ug listahan sa mga LSIs kumpleto ug detalye sa kung asa sila nga region muadto, asa nga probinsiya sila muadto (a list of LSIs with complete details on the region or province where they are going) and this will be facilitated by the DILG Overseas Filipino Desks three days prior to their departure,” Agabe said.
The receiving LGU will still need to coordinate with the LGU of origin where the JTF COVID-19 Shield will take charge of the passage and clearance. The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will then facilitate the transfer.
For necessary psychosocial services, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be tapped.
Protocols upon arrival
Upon arrival, the LSI needs to show his or her medical clearance certification and travel authority issued by the JTF COVID-19 Shield.
There will be a holding area designated, which is prepared by the LGU concerned, where the local health officer (LHO) will assess whether or not the LSI have COVID-19 symptoms.
If there are symptoms observed based on the LHO’s clinical judgment, the LSI will be isolated immediately shall be subject again for health protocols and procedures for suspected COVID-19 patient.
If there are no symptoms observed, the LSI may be escorted by the receiving LGU to his or her residence. The LSI may not be required to undergo another 14-day quarantine.
“Katong wala maquarantine (Those who were not quarantined), they are encouraged to stay at home and self-monitor for any symptoms in the next 14 days,” the director added.
The Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) will monitor the LSIs and if there are no symptoms observed, the case should also be reported to the COVID-19 local task force. (RTP/PIA10)