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Iloilo mayors want to stop repatriation of LSIs

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Municipal mayors in Iloilo province opposed the planned resumption of the repatriation of locally stranded individuals (LSI) to avoid spikes in new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.

A Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) memorandum announced the lifting of the travel ban on LSIs today, July 15.

Last month, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año instructed local governments to suspend receiving LSIs from Manila and Cebu due to the spike of Covid-19 cases in other parts of the country attributed to them. (https://bit.ly/32kuq86)

The Iloilo Chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) released a resolution requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases through Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. to suspend the return of LSIs to the province indefinitely.

The LMP cited the record-breaking spike of Covid-19 cases in the region last July 12, where 53 LSIs out of 67 cases are in the province.

“The continuing transport of LSIs will greatly contribute to the increase of Covid-19 cases in the province,” they said.

In asking for the indefinite suspension of LSIs transportation to the province, the LMP resolution cited Article III, Section 15 of the Constitution declaring it a policy of the State to protect and promote the right to health of the people; Proclamation No. 929 declaring a State of Calamity throughout the country and imposing an Enhanced Community Quarantine in the entire Luzon due to COVID-19 pandemic; and Republic Act 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act), which granted the President temporary authority to carry out tasks necessary to implement measures to mitigate, if not contain the transmission of Covid-19, and undertake means to prevent the overburdening of the health care system.

As of June 14, Western Visayas recorded 611 confirmed cases, including 452, or around 74 percent, are either LSIs or repatriated overseas Filipino workers.