By Rodrigo S. Victoria
NAVAL, Biliran — Returning Biliranons, particularly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and local residents affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) lockdowns, are required to undergo 21 days quarantine at designated municipal isolation areas upon arrival in the province.
This is based on a memorandum issued by Governor Rogelio J. Espina to all the eight municipal mayors dated May 6, 2020.
The “Guidelines on the Implementation of the Balik Probinsya Balik Probinsya Scheme for Biliranons Wanting to Go Home” harmonizes the procedures by which returning residents and local government units follow in collaboration with relevant national government agencies with oversight functions in COVID-19 related activities, the memo stated.
LGUs are mandated to prepare a database of their respective constituencies who are OFWs caught in lockdowns in areas under ECQ specifically data on countries visited prior to arrival in the country, main port of entry, home address, address where mandatory quarantine upon arrival to the country was completed, COVID-19 tests undertaken and results, classification whether sea-based or land-based.
LGUs are also required to conduct listing of local residents including their data on home address, temporary address in ECQ areas, livelihood/employment status, and reasons for being caught in lockdown.
Returning OFWs are only allowed entry provided they are officially listed by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and/or other relevant labor coordinating agencies as undergoing the government’s repatriation program, and are officially endorsed by said agency to the Provincial Governor for issuance of Authority to Enter; with health clearance from competent DOH authority, a negative PCR testing result conducted by competent DOH testing laboratory; transport of said OFWs are arranged in coordination between OWWA regional offices from port of embarkation to point of local entry, where entry shall be allowed in designated local ports of arrival in the province; and OFWs not included in the OWWA listing for repatriation but need the same assistance maybe considered in a case-to-case basis, taking into accounts permits to travel and cost of the same.
Returning local residents shall inform their home barangay of their plan to go home and request a certification attesting proof of residency. Only actual residents are allowed entry, as validated in the list of each LGU.
Two days before the expected date of arrival, arrangement shall be made by the Punong Barangay to the MHO and MDRRMO, and the latter shall inform the Border for proper screening and endorsement to LGU isolation facility.
In coordinating arrivals, proper deliberation shall be made so that arrivals are arranged in batches preferably in-between 21 days to avoid overwhelming of local isolation facilities and maximize usage of LGU vehicles should there be need to transport the same from border to community isolation facility arises.
In addition, issuance of Authority to Enter by the Provincial Governor requires proof of booking of a transportation passage from the area under ECQ towards the home province.
The memo also stated that returning Biliranons shall be tested using the RT-PCR COVID-19 confirmatory test within 24 hours upon arrival at the LGU isolation facility, applying the PCR Testing Algorithm approved by the Provincial COVID-19 Task Force.
The provincial government of Biliran will also provide a one-time financial support of P3,000 to procure essential needs to qualified local residents stranded in ECQ areas subject to adjustment of on the cash availability.
Local residents who are stranded in ECQ areas for the following reasons such as studying or participating in any academic-related activities, applying for work or working as daily wage earner/non-regular status, on-going hospitalization or other medical-related procedures, and other cases except being a permanent or long-time resident of the area under ECQ, may be provided with cash assistance to procure essential needs provided they are validated by their respective Punong Barangays as bona fide actual residents. (ldl/rsv/PIA-8 Biliran)