TAGBILARAN CITY – The provincial government of Bohol has welcomed more than 300 Boholanos who returned from abroad, Metro Manila, and Cebu after being stranded since the province was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
This, as 69 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and three locally stranded individuals (LSIs) arrived on Sunday in Bohol.
Dr. Cesar Tomas Lopez of the medical cluster of the Provincial Emergency Management Administration (PEMA) said the number includes the first batch of 163 individuals who were stranded in Leyte when the ECQ took effect in March.
He said another batch of OFWs from Manila would be arriving in the coming days but there has been no advice yet as to the number and schedule.
On April 27, the first batch of 17 OFWs came from Cebu and 48 more followed from Manila via Cebu.
On May 9, another batch of 51 OFWs arrived from Cebu.
Another batch of 19 OFWs arrived on May 22, together with 12 LSIs from Cebu.
Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), on Saturday said the Philippines is expecting more OFWs to arrive after Dubai declared that 70 percent of their companies will shut down because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The country is expecting more than 150,000 OFWs in the months to come, he said.
This month, there are already 30,000 OFWs stranded in Manila, and more or less 12,000 of them have already returned to their respective provinces.
There are now more or less 17,000 left in Manila that are undergoing quarantine.
Galvez added that in May and June, “we are expecting 42,000 more”.
The IATF-EID is capacitating the provinces to have testing facilities so that the OFWs could already go straight to their areas of destinations, he said, adding that the move is meant to avoid double handling.
“We will provide stringent protocols so that our people will be protected kaya nag-usap kami nila governor para maprotektahan ang Bohol na walang magkaroon ng (that’s why we had a talk with the governor in order to protect Bohol so that there would be no) importation of the virus. We subjected them to PCR tests and quarantine,” Galvez said.
Governor Arthur Yap said the municipalities are now preparing more isolation centers for returning Boholanos.
Last May 21, the municipality of Buenavista opened a PHP2-million central isolation center in preparation for the homecoming of Boholano LSIs from Cebu.
Buenavista Vice Mayor Christine Torregosa, who herself has been stranded in Cebu, is coordinating with the provincial government the return of Boholano LSIs to their province. (PNA)