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Eugenio Lacson, Arthur Defensor air Western Visayas politikos’ concerns in COVID-19 fight

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BACOLOD CITY – Governors Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental and Arthur Defensor Jr. of Iloilo have been designated by their fellow chief executives in Western Visayas to represent them in airing the region’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19)-related concerns to the national government.

This was agreed upon during the virtual meeting of the six governors, including those of Capiz, Antique, Aklan and Guimaras, and mayors of two highly-urbanized cities, Bacolod and Iloilo, on Thursday afternoon.

“(They want to) bring the region’s concerns to the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in relation to the guidelines and policies laid out by the national body to Western Visayas local government units (LGUs),” the Negros Occidental provincial government said in a statement.

The region’s local chief executives have made a stand against the recent Operational Guidelines on the Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), particularly Paragraph 7.5, stating that they shall no longer be subjected to local health protocols by the receiving LGUs.

On September 3, Lacson and the mayors of the 31 LGUs in Negros Occidental manifested their position in a letter sent by the governor to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) 6 (Western Visayas) Director Jose Roberto Nuñez, chair of the Regional Task Force on Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).

“The province of Negros Occidental, together with its 31 cities and municipalities, manifest their stand that all ROFs must be tested and quarantined at the place of their final destination,” Lacson said.

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia also wrote to Nuñez and Department of the Interior and Local Government 6 OIC-Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero, chair of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force, airing a similar stand.

“This is to most respectfully inform you of the stand of our (Bacolod) LGU that ROFs and LSIs (locally stranded individuals) coming home to Bacolod need to be facility-quarantined and swabbed first under RT-PCR (reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction) method when they arrive here before they are allowed to finally proceed home,” Leonardia said in his letter dated September 4. (PNA)