A plan to bring home Boholanos stranded outside of the province amid heightened coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019 quarantine measures has been set in motion, said Governor Arthur Yap on Monday as he assured that the provincial government has not forgotten about them and is not neglecting their plight.
Dubbed “Oplan Exodus,” the initiative seeks to allow Boholanos to enter Bohol once the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) “no-sail” policy is lifted.
However, Yap asked for continued patience from the stranded individuals particularly students and displaced workers as he noted that the plan must be executed in a way that would not harm the 1.3 million residents in Bohol which is currently free from the dreaded disease.
Yap, in a press briefing at the Capitol, said that he is in close coordination with the province’s health experts in coming up with measures to safely allow entry to Boholanos through stringent quarantine protocols.
The governor is also set to meet the province’s mayors today for consultations on the implementation of Oplan Exodus.
“Bisan pa decision nato na paulion mo karon we cannot do that because naay no sail policy sa Coast Guard pero sa panahon na nagmando na ang national agencies atong gi andam na ang mga policies regarding your return to Bohol,” said Yap.
Bohol, in a span of less than a month, was able to set up isolation centers at the provincial, municipal and barangay levels that can accommodate more than 1,000 individuals.
The lack of isolation centers and health facilities was previously cited by Yap as the main consideration in placing the entire province under an enhanced community quarantine which bars all vessels and aircraft from traveling to the island.
He said that the stringent quarantine measures will allow Bohol to better prepare for an outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Capitol has beefed up its validation capacity in determining which Boholanos staying outside of the province qualify for cash aid from the provincial government.
Yap said that from having just 12 personnel to oversee the validation, the team is now 50-strong to expedite the identification of beneficiaries and the dole out of financial assistance.
The Capitol has so far extended almost P1 million in cash aid to around 500 individuals in the past week.
According to Yap, he expects the provincial government which has bolstered its validation capacity to approve around 3,000 claims for assistance in the next week.
“We want to increase the number of people we can send assistance to…I am asking our provincial government to give full attention into validating these claims,” he said.