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LGUs should allow entry of returning residents amid COVID-19 —Palace

Local government units (LGUs) should allow entry to returning residents in their respective jurisdictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Friday. 

“In-adopt ng IATF ‘yung national na polisiya na lahat ng local na pamahalaan, lahat ng governors, city and municipal mayors at punong barangays, ay dapat tanggapin po ang kanilang mga nagbabalik na mamamayan,” Roque said on state-run PTV-4.

“Ito ay tinatawag nating returning residents sa panahon ng pandemiya,” he added.

The IATF refers to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government's policy-making body in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite government efforts, dozens of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) still struggle to book trips home due to limited transportation and local governments requiring medical certificate proving that the individual is negative for COVID-19 before he or she is allowed entry.

In a radio interview earlier in the day, Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary and Hatid Tulong convenor Joseph Encabo called on LSIs to register to the program first before they can be accommodated to trips to the provinces and to wait for official communication from the program's secretariat for instruction.

Most of the LSIs were stranded in Metro Manila during the enhanced community quarantine period from mid-March to end of May — a protocol that banned sea, land and air transportation.

"Ang LSI po natin, kapag sila ay pre-registered or pre-enrolled sa Hatid Tulong program, ay sila po ang tinatawagan ng ating secretariat at binibigyan ng abiso at instruction kung saan sila papunta o tutungo para maproseso sila sa kanilang paghatid sa kanilang mga probinsiya," Encabo said.

LSIs have previously crowded Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Libingan ng mga Bayani upon hearing from their fellow LSIs that there will be free trips sponsored by the government.

According to Encabo, LSIs can register by going to the offices of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Labor and Employment, among others, and providing them with details about themselves and their destination. —KBK, GMA News