Saturday, May 18, 2024

RIATF, RTF Endorse Bacolod Mayor’s Appeal To NTF

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Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia thanked the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 for approving the City’s request for a two-week moratorium on the repatriation of LSIs (locally stranded individuals) and ROFs (returning overseas Filipinos).

Leonardia said, “We welcome this approval as this will give us some breathing space at a time when our positive cases are rapidly increasing and we are implementing more stringent measures to contain the spread. We are thankful that our aggressive approach to the various bodies handling COVID-19 management has paid off.”

NTF chair Delfin Lorenzana, in a memorandum dated August 7, 2020 that was released to press yesterday [August 9], said the NTF has approved the recommendation of the Regional Task Force (RTF) and Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF), for a 14-day moratorium for the repatriation of returning residents to the City of Bacolod.

The Province of Negros Occidental and the City of Iloilo had also made similar requests.

Lorenzana, also the secretary of the Department of National Defense, said the “temporary suspension” of repatriation of LSIs and ROFs for 14 days started on August 8. It will end August 21.

Lorenzana noted in his memorandum that the request for a moratorium was stated in Resolution 28 dated August 7 of the Western Visayas RIATF and RTF.

Last week, Leonardia had appealed for a two-week moratorium on the acceptance of LSIs and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which was subsequently endorsed by the RIATF and RTF to the national level.

“It will be a reprieve for our health workers and other front-liners after working non-stop for months. If we also lengthen our curfew hours and strictly impose our health protocols, we will have a better chance in slowing down the spread of coronavirus disease,” Leonardia said in an earlier statement.

The moratorium was proposed after a spike in the number of COVID cases in the local government units (LGUs), following the arrival of returning residents and also due to the limited resources and capacity of LGUs to quarantine them.

Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the city’s Quarantine Centers Action Team, also warned of the health dangers to the general community if there will be an overflow of arriving OFWs beyond what local hotels are willing to accommodate for quarantine purposes.

SERIES OF APPEALS

It can be recalled that on August 5, Leonardia also wrote to Office of Civil Defense-6 Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez, chair of RIATF Western Visayas, requesting the RIATF’s intercession on the city’s request for a moratorium.

Leonardia also separately appealed for a two-week moratorium with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in his August 3 letter addressed to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.

The OWWA letter was then furnished to the RIATF.

The mayor has also requested the National IATF, thru its chair Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, to limit the flights and ferry trips to Bacolod, and for the airline and shipping companies to provide data of repatriated LSIs and OFWs to the receiving LGUs at least two days before the arrival.

As early as July 13, Leonardia addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, chair of the National IATF, and his co-chair Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, the appeal for controlled number of passengers when commercial flights and sea travel resume. The letter was furnished to the RIATF.

(Source: Bacolod City PIO Facebook Page)

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