GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 May) – The city government has quarantined eight people, including two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), who returned home via land travel after being stranded for nearly two months in Metro Manila.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said Thursday the stranded residents, mostly professionals whose return flights were cancelled following the declaration of the Luzon-wide lockdown in March, arrived aboard a rented van on Tuesday night after traveling for three days.
He said they were fetched by a team from the City Health Office at the border checkpoint of Region 12 or Soccsksargen in Malungon town, Sarangani province and were immediately brought to the city’s isolation facility.
The returning residents were profiled to properly establish their origin and travel history as part of the protocol for people coming in from areas with sustained local transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), he said.
“They will undergo strict observation for 14 days and will be properly examined before they will be allowed to return to their families,” he said in a radio interview.
The mayor clarified that the group’s travel from Metro Manila had prior coordination with the city government.
He said all of them had previously reached out to the local government and enlisted for the “sweeper” or “mercy” flights planned by the national government.
But he said the flights remained pending as the involved commercial airlines have yet to get final approval from the national Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Rivera said each of them had been issued by the local government with acceptance certificates, which eventually allowed them passage in the border checkpoints.
He assured that the city government has continually coordinating with the national government, especially with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, for the return of the other stranded residents.
These include seafarers, OFWs and other workers who were forced to stay in various areas due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“We’re hoping that this will be given proper attention soon by the concerned agencies,” Rivera said. (MindaNews)