DUMAGUETE CITY – Local government units (LGUs) in Negros Oriental are urged to accommodate their respective locally-stranded individuals (LSIs) and other returning residents as an influx is expected in the coming weeks amid the government’s heightened “Hatid Probinsya” program.

Capitol Information Officer Bimbo Miraflor, also the spokesperson for the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), said Wednesday afternoon that based on a memorandum from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), returning residents will be turned over to the LGUs for proper safety and health protocols.

Thousands of LSIs, returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) to include overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were stranded outside of the province due to lockdown measures to prevent spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), have arrived here in the past weeks, mostly from Manila.

OFWs may stay at hotels here if the Overseas Welfare Workers’ Administration (OWWA) still has funds to cover for their accommodation and food, Miraflor said.

For LSIs and other ROFs, the LGUs are asked to facilitate their return to their respective home towns or cities where they shall be required to comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine, whether at a government-designated facility or at home but under strict monitoring, he said.

LGUs are given enough time in between arrivals to receive their LSIs and ROFs even as some mayors are already worried they cannot cope with the influx of returning residents, he added.

At least three sweeper flights of Philippine Airlines carrying LSIs and ROFs are scheduled on June 14, 16, and 20.

Gov. Roel Degamo, who wrote to the airlines last June 9, said the provincial government will allow the entry of returnees provided that they can present a medical certificate and a travel authority or travel pass from the Philippine National Police.

The governor also emphasized that the airlines must provide the province with a list of names of the passengers and their contact information three days prior to their scheduled flight for proper coordination and management.

Meanwhile, another sweeper flight is scheduled to arrive here on Thursday, exclusive for outgoing Australian citizens and outbound LSIs, Miraflor said. (PNA)