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Treñas insists on quarantine, swab testing for repatriated OFWs

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Mayor Jerry Treñas has requested the national government’s consideration in allowing returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) to enter Iloilo City, albeit with a few conditions.

In a September 17 addressed to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, co-chairpersons of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Treñas asked for a moratorium on ROF repatriations.

The mayor also sent a letter dated September 18 for Duque, Nograles, and National Task Force (NTF) Against the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) chair and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (https://bit.ly/2ZR7oDN)

The letter was also addressed to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration chief Hans Leo Cacdac and Office of Civil Defense-Region 6 Director Jose Roberto Nuñez, also the chair of the Regional Task Force Against Covid-19.

These letters were in light of the NTF’s August 19 order, which set the operational guidelines on ROF repatriations.

Section 7.5.2 of the order provides that ROFs will be taken directly to their homes by their local Covid-19 task forces.

Section 7.5.3 of the same order also provides that the ROFs shall no longer be subject to local health protocols set by their respective local government units (LGU).

Treñas said the city government of Iloilo will allow the repatriation of its ROF residents into the city, but they must be subjected to the said protocols.

“The Iloilo City Government has always aligned its intervention measures with the national directives. However, on this matter, [I] insist upon the prerogative to stick with the local health protocols in place—that mandatory RT-PCR testing and isolation of the ROFs be done by the receiving LGU,” the mayor said.

He also emphasized the “practicability” of testing and isolation of the ROFs, saying that it cannot be discounted.

The testing and isolation of ROFs “would effectively break the chain of transmission and help ROFs save on costs and resources,” added Treñas.