An organization of medical practitioners in the province is “strongly” opposing the plan to bring home thousands of Boholanos stranded in various parts of the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 pandemic.
A letter from the Bohol Medical Society (BMS), signed by its president Dr. Jefferson Ong and addressed to Governor Arthur Yap, said that the provincial government should not allow the entry of the stranded Boholanos “at least before the end of May” citing the province’s inadequacy to handle an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
Bohol which was the first province to bar inbound travel suspending sea and air trips into the island has zero active COVID-19 cases so far.
“In our assessment, Bohol is not adequately prepared for a full-blown outbreak of COVID-19 which is something we have to expect when allowing people from hot zones such as the NCR and Cebu to come into the province,” Ong said.
Ong also noted the province’s inadequate testing capacity for COVID-19 while claiming that tests are “quite unreliable” based on recent “international data.”
“Testing therefore does not give us complete security in the screening process,” Ong said.
The BMS official also surmised that the so-called fiesta season in May could be among reasons pushing Boholanos to want to go home.
“We also foresee that the fiesta month will attract several visitors and greater pressure from those who will want to come home as the fiesta is an enduring Boholano tradition,” he said.
Data from the Capitol and hundreds of direct messages sent to the Chronicle and DYRD Facebook pages however indicate that many of those stranded in other provinces are wanting to go home due to their difficult living situations in COVID-stricken localities.
For its part, the Capitol has clarified that although the plan, dubbed “Oplan Exodus,” is already in motion by preparing municipalities for the time when Boholanos will be allowed to return home there is still no definite timeline as to when this will happen.
Yap said that Boholanos will be permitted to enter the province at the “right time.”
“Ang Oplan Exodus usa ka pagpangandam. Dili pa nato sugdan ang pagpauli. Ang atong gisugdan mao ang pagpangandam,” he said in a press briefing at the Capitol on Thursday, two days after the BMS letter was issued.
“Sa akong gikaingon na naghimo na ta og mga pagpangandam gisugdan nato ang proseso aron maka andam ang mga LGU kung mo abot ang panahon na papaulion na sila dinhi sa saktong panahon,” he added.
He also assured that the province’s decisions in relation to COVID-19 are made after consultations with local health experts and various sectors.
Meanwhile, the provincial government continued to extend aid to Boholano students and displaced workers who are stranded in various localities.
The Capitol has spent about P2 million in cash aid for 1,000 individuals so far, Yap said. (A. Doydora)