Duterte renews appeal to LGUs to accept returning LSIS, OFWs

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DAVAO CITY — Again, President Rodrigo Duterte made a new appeal to local government units (LGUs) to take in repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well as locally stranded individuals (LSI) returning to their respective home provinces.

Duterte reiterated his appeal on Monday as reports claim many LGUs refuse to accept LSIS and returning OFWs for fear of getting infected with coronavirus-19 in their locality.

Reports have it, many LGU’s remain lukewarm to the call as DOH figure reflect that many returning residents were found positive of most of the returning residents as they have been exposed to places with high Covid-19 cases.

The national government has called on the LGUs to accept their constituents because they need to be home, while isolation facilities with the rapid testing are already available.

Despite these, LGUs want health clearance, rapid tests among others before they receive the returning residents.

Worse, those who want to go home still need to get a letter of acceptance from the LGU to ensure that they will be accepted when they return, a process which further expose families to public and usually it takes three to seven days in some areas to issue a letter of acceptance.

Authorities have noted that some LGUs do not have the system and are not yet ready to accept returning residents.

In Davao region, LGUS accepts LSIS and OFWs as a system has been in place for their return vis-a-vis the health protocol needed.

On Monday night, Duterte said “Ang pakiusap lang na tanggapin lang ‘yung mga LGUs — tanggapin nila ‘yung mga tao, pakiusap,” President Duterte said during a public address.

The President reiterated that local officials don’t have the power to deny the OFWs and LSIs of their right to return to their homes and loved ones, adding that it would just create problems for them.

The presence of asymptomatic individuals to the batches of persons going home could not be a ground to restrict their return to their places of origin, he argued.

“You do not even know if he’s contaminated or not. If he’s not, then you still refuse him tapos magkaroon kahit sabi mo wall . . . You’ll run into a gamut of so many problems,” he said.

“Even if they are actually contaminated, if they want to go home maybe to get well or to die there, hindi mo ma-deny sa Pilipino ‘yan,” he added.

In his report to the President, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said they have already sent home a total of 56,000 OFWs to the provinces. 

The government also expects the arrival of some 40,000 OFWs from different parts of the world in two months, Lorenzana added, citing reports from the labor department.

In the case of LSIs, thousands more are still stranded in Metro Manila awaiting their flight schedules, according to Lorenzana.

Lorenzana also advised stranded individuals in Manila not go to the airports or seaports if they don’t have flight schedules to avoid congestion at the terminals.

“Wala naman kayong matirahan sa airport at pati pagkain ay sinasagot na ng Philippine Army at saka Philippine Air Force at sila ay nahihirapan din,” he said. 

“So pakiusap lang po huwag kayong magpunta doon kung wala kayong siguradong masakyan,” Lorenzana added.-ezc/Newsline

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