CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (PIA)–Management of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos remains to be a big challenge to the Regional Inter Agency Task Force (RIATF) since Laguindingan Airport and the Macabalan Port here serve as the drop off and disembarkation points of returning individuals bound to various regions in Mindanao.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-10 Regional Director Arnel Agabe shared as he cited various challenges that confront the task force during the NorMin COVID-19 Response Task Force press conference, June 30, here.
“The RIATF has been continuously formulating various strategies to facilitate the ROFs and LSIs who come from other regions and address their immediate dispatch by their respective LGUs,” Agabe said.
The regional director said such challenge needs hand in hand cooperation of the local government units (LGUs) and national line agencies since the facilitation of the returning individuals require strict observance of health protocols and speedy response of the LGUs concerned for the transfer.
Agabe said the facilitation of LSIs from the region is easy to manage since the RIATF has already established a good workflow.
“The challenge is on handling LSIs and ROFs who are bound to other regions. Gaproblema ani ang RIATF kay ang uban niini sa ila wala’y musugat nga transportation gikan sa (RIATF has difficulties on it since some of them do not have transportation service from) their respective regions, which would have given necessary assistance to LSIs,” he added.
Agabe cited the absence of early coordination with the LGU concerned prior to the arrival of the returning individual as one of the causes why a lot of returning indivuals stay longer in the region’s holding areas.
Noting such, Agabe reminds the local officals that based on Memorandum Circular No. 2020-087, the receiving Regional Task Force (RTF) shall coordinate with the concerned local chief executives, through the DILG, to ensure the unhampered transit of returning individuals.
The receiving RTF must also coordinate with concerned government agencies or offices to provide necessary assistance in the management of ROFs and LSIs.
Isolation units update
As for the establishment of isolation units, the regional director said, “The establishment of isolation units are among the COVID-19-related deliverables of the LGUs and the quality of structure and services of these isolation units are however dependent on the financial capacity or availability of their funds.”
Currently, there are 741 isolation units established in the region with 5,332 number of beds. Such units could accommodate 8,274 occupants.
DILG-10 has also been looking into the LGUs’ status of funds, to include disaster risk reduction funds, as there are other challenges and priorities that the LGUs have to undertake for the welfare of their constituents— to include economic recovery and development. (RTP/PIA10)