TACLOBAN CITY- The temporary suspension on the return of the locally stranded individuals (LSIs) was welcomed by the mayors in Leyte province, in particular, saying this would ‘help’ contain somehow the further spread of COVID-19.
To recall, Interior Sec. Eduardo Año has called for the temporary lifting on the return of the LSIs in the entire region amid spike of COVID-19 cases of the region which was partly blamed to the surge of the arrivals of the LSIs.
Mayor Ma. Rosario Avestruz of Barugo town who is the spokesperson of the League of Mayors-Leyte Chapter, said that they were happy that their request for the temporary suspension of the LSIs were heeded by Sec.Ano.
‘This lifting, though temporary, will really help us local government units as we are already overwhelmed with the number of LSIs arriving in our respective areas,” Avestruz, in a phone interview, said.
She also said that the lesser number of LSIs coming to the provinces would also help in the decrease on the number of COVID-19 cases.
The town of Barugo has about two confirmed COVID-19 cases with about 110 LSIs, among others, now under their quarantine facilities.
“(The suspension) will also help us LGUs in terms of funding because we are allocating funds for the daily meals of these people,” Avestruz said.
She, however, was quick to say that they do ‘welcome’ their kababayans to return but not during this time while they are grappling the impacts of the pandemic.
In Leyte, the return of the LSIs, to include those who availed of the Balik Probinsiya program and the returning overseas workers, contributed to the dramatic increase of its COVID-19 cases.
At present, Leyte has about 224 COVID-19 cases, majority of them were LSIs, returning overseas workers and those who availed of the Balik Probinsiya program.
Meanwhile, the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) in Eastern Visayas reported of 16 new COVID-19 cases of which 13 of them were LSIs.
This increase to 467 the total number of COVID-19 cases of the region.
These LSIS confirmed to have acquired the virus were from the towns of Libangon (one), and Sogod, 10, both from Southern Leyte province; and one each from Calbayog City and San Jorge town, both in Samar province.
The other fresh cases of COVID-19 of the region were from Catbalogan City, Samar, 2; and Kananga, Leyte, 1.