SO AS not to expose the safety of the whole city to “incalculable jeopardy,” Mayor Evelio Leonardia has appealed to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) to provide a moratorium of at least two weeks in between the return of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Bacolod City.
This need for a two-week moratorium was raised by Councilor Renecito Novero, chair of the Quarantine Centers Action Team, who warned of the health dangers to the general community in case of an overflow of arriving OFWs beyond what local hotels are willing to accommodate for quarantine purposes.
“This will provide enough breathing space for everyone and everything involved in this arduous task of quarantine measures,” Leonardia said in his August 3, 2020 letter to Owwa administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.
“The uncontrolled number and the indiscriminate frequency of OFWs returning to our City will possibly exceed the available hotel facilities without warning and injudiciously exhaust our local workers. Should this happen, the safety of the whole city will be exposed to incalculable jeopardy,” the mayor stressed.
The letter was also signed by Novero and Councilor Israel Salanga, chair of the Action Team on Returning OFWs.
Jose Roberto Nuñez, regional director of Office of Civil Defense-Western Visayas and chair of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF), was also furnished a copy.
Limit flights, ferry trips
It can be recalled that Leonardia also wrote to Health Secretary Francisco Duque, chair of the National IATF, and his co-chair Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles on July 13, 2020, appealing for a controlled number of passengers when commercial flights and sea travel resume.
Leonardia had requested the National Task Force (NTF) to “issue a guideline that limits flights and ferry trips to a combined total of 600 passengers per week.”
The mayor also asked the NTF to “instruct the airline and shipping companies to coordinate with us (City Mayor’s Office) and secure our permission at least two days before any scheduled flight or ferry trip.”
“(This) will enable us to determine if we will have available quarantine facilities for the returnees and prepare for their arrival,” the mayor explained.
“At least by this scheme, what is not an easy job will become less difficult to manage,” he added. (PR)