Facility quarantine for returning overseas Filipinos (ROF) and locally stranded individuals (LSI) is no longer mandatory, according to a memorandum issued by Governor Art Yap on Wednesday afternoon.
Yap, in the memorandum dated June 2 and addressed to the province’s mayors, said that local government units may decide to whether place ROFs and LSIs of their town under a 14-day quarantine in hotels, the LGU’s facilities, or their homes.
The governor’s new directive was issued in accordance with the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2020-087 dated May 21, 2020 and issued to LGUs and various officials in the country.
Prior to the release of the new directive, it was mandatory for LSIs to undergo a 14-day quarantine at an LGU facility while ROFs were quarantined at resorts with their expenses paid for by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
According to Yap, mayors may decide to place their LSIs and ROFs under home quarantine but their houses should be locked down. Residents would not be allowed to go out and visitors would be barred from entering the residence for the duration of the 14-day quarantine.
Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERT) will be deployed to keep houses with quarantined LSIs and ROFs under “close monitoring.”
“Home quarantine may be an option subject to the sound judgement and discretion of the mayor pursuant to LGU quarantine protocol,” Yap said.
Local chief executives may still place ROFs and LSIs under facility quarantine but expenses for it will be shouldered by the LGU.
Quarantine may also be done in hotels and resorts but expenses will be covered by the LSIs and ROFs themselves.
LGUs may also still conduct rapid antibody tests on LSIs and ROFs, Yap said.
Meanwhile, current ROFs quarantined in resorts will still be accommodated for free until June 15.
According to Dr. Yul Lopez, the Capitol’s spokesperson on coronavirus disease (COVID) 2019-related issues, the OWWA funds for the accommodation of ROFs have been depleted due to the large number of returning balikbayans catered to by the agency.
Lopez also reminded LSIs that requirements previously set by the national government for them such as a medical certificate from a government physician and travel authority from the Philippine National Police remained in place.
Based on the DILG’s circular, LGUs “shall not deny the entry of LSIs” with complete requirements and provided that LSIs have coordinated with authorities such as the National Task Force and Regional Task Force regarding their travel to their home provinces.