The Tagbilaran City local government unit (LGU) will be implementing “very strict” protocols if it decides to allow locally stranded individuals (LSI) and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) to undergo home quarantine which local health experts have pinpointed to be a risk for the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Baba Yap on Friday said that the city is still drafting guidelines in preparation for a possible approval of the League of Municipalities (LMP) – Bohol’s proposal to allow home quarantine of LSIs and OFWs.
“Kita sa Tagbilaran City mo release ta og mga guidelines kinahanglan pud og barangay clearance, kihanglan ekstrikto kaayo ta aron di ta madaghanan sa COVID-19,” Yap said.
All eligible individuals allowed to enter the province are currently required to undergo a 14-day quarantine either at a government facility with free accommodation or in a hotel where they are required to shoulder their own expenses.
However, LMP-Bohol recently suggested giving LSIs and OFWs the option to undergo home quarantine instead amid limited spaces and personnel at municipal quarantine centers.
The proposal has been submitted for approval to the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force led by Gov. Art Yap.
For her part, Tagbilaran City Health Officer Dr. Jeia Pondoc expressed her vehement stance against home quarantine.
She said that it would still not be recommendable for LSIs and OFWs to undergo home quarantine even if they present a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to their arrival.
“As a doctor, dili g’yud ko [mo support],” Pondoc said.
The LMP as part of its suggestions said that LSIs and OFWs may submit a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to their arrival in the province qualifying them to undergo home quarantine.
Baba however pointed out that the measure is not foolproof noting an instance in which APORs (authorized persons outside of residence) who submitted negative PCR test results 72 hours before entering the province ended up testing positive in another test done upon arrival in Tagbilaran City.
Tagbilaran has been conducting mandatory PCR tests of all arriving LSIs, OFWs and APORs.
“Ang duha ka APOR na hing positive kagahapon adlawa gabitbit og negative result within 72 hours so pasabot ani bisan og gabitbit sila og results dili ni seguridad na wala na kay COVID-19 inig dung ninyo dinhi,” Baba said.
Pondoc also explained that prevention is still key in overcoming the pandemic particularly with the state of the province’s healthcare system which could easily be overwhelmed if an outbreak erupts.
“What if naay mga symptomatic aha nimo ibutang. Kung ma overwhelm nani atong mga facilities na dili nato ma-control mo spread g’yud ni siya og labaw,” she said. “Dapat strict g’yud ta sa containment kay sa prevention ra ta magdaog kay wa man ta yamoy daghan hospital.”
A COVID-19 outbreak could also cripple the province’s healthcare system and leave patients who have other ailments with limited spaces at hospitals.
“Kining mga pasyente dili mamatay sa COVID kundi mamatay sa ubang sakit kay di na maatiman,” she said.
Earlier, home quarantine for LSIs and OFWs was supposed to be allowed in the province as prescribed by the national government but this was met with heavy opposition from the public.
Doubts were raised on whether or not LSIs and OFWs would adhere to protocols such as not going outside of their house or not interacting with anyone including their families if they are quarantined at home and unsupervised.
The LMP amid public uproar against home quarantine eventually decided against the measure’s implementation. (A. Doydora)