first_imgTreñas also stressed the importance of proper coordination so that the city government could prepare for the returning OFWs such as their quarantine area and the provisions needed. According to the city mayor, what he was asking from the regional task force on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was the strict adherence to safety protocols to ensure that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, won’t spread in Iloilo and endanger the lives of residents. According to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), one batch would have 232 OFWs (Aklan, 28; Antique, 29; Capiz, 25; and Iloilo, 150) while the other batch, 301 (Aklan, 53; Antique, 24; Capiz, 30; and Iloilo, 194). “We will clarify this. Indi nami nga ginaguba ang syudad. Lain diri ang nagakatabo, lain man sugid sa babaw,” said Treñas. Late Monday night in a televised address to the nation, Duterte said, local government units such as Iloilo City must not turn away returning overseas Filipino workers “o pipilitin kong sumunod kayo. I don’t want to embarrass people.” “Our position is clear. We want Ilonggo OFWs back and be with their families. However, because Iloilo province is under an enhanced community quarantine, we have protocols to follow,” said Defensor. ILOILO City – The President was likely fed with the wrong information, according to Mayor Jerry Treñas. He denied having prevented Manila-stranded overseas workers from returning to Iloilo. Treñas did not name anyone who could be giving President Rodrigo Duterte with false information but gave a hint, “Sila man to may access sa babaw.” “There was never an instance or occasion nga ginpa-untat ta ang pagbaton sang OFWs,” stressed Treñas yesterday. Two more batches of OFWs are set to return to Western Visayas. This should not happen again, said Treñas. He cited as example the return of some 40 OFWs from Cebu City in the second week of April and the over 200 others just this April 29 from Metro Manila. He lamented what happened to the OFWs who returned last week. Meals were delayed at a hotel here they were quarantined and there was no regular checking of their health condition, such as their temperature. (Fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19.) For his part, Iloilo province’s Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. defended his recent request to MARINA to defer the scheduled May 2 return of the 232 OFWs stranded in Manila. He said they must first undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 tests in Manila and that their results must be negative of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. He also pointed out that five of these OFWs tested positive for COVID-19 despite claims that their tests in Manila – prior to their departure to Iloilo – showed them without SARS-CoV-2. “I think may naga-intriga. Sa akon paglantaw lain ang information ang nagalab-ot sa babaw,” he said. The regional COVID-19 task force itself on May 4 sent Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the COVID-19 National Action Plan, a letter seeking the postponement of the return of stranded OFWs./PNlast_img read more