(Screenshot from Laging Handa public briefing)


Palawan was not included in the Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) list of areas in the country covered by the moratorium on the repatriation of locally stranded individuals (LSI) and overseas workers.

The list, released Monday by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque during his regular Laging Handa public briefing, included only Region 6, Cebu Island, Mactan, Region 8, and Caraga Region.

Provincial spokesperson Winston Arzaga said the exclusion of Palawan in the list means the repatriation of LSIs may continue.

“Siguro hindi tayo kasali dahil mababa lang ang incidence natin ng COVID-19,” Arzaga told Palawan News.

The national moratorium first issued last week came in the wake of appeals by provinces and regions to suspend the program following a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in their areas with returning LSIs as potential carriers of the virus.

“If the national government believes we can still manage and handle arrivals, then our health infrastructure is enough. Because they [national government] will not simply make a decision without checking the actual situation,” Arzaga added.

The city government earlier last week asked the IATF to upgrade its modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) status, as LSI arrivals saw a rise in the number of its COVID-19 positive cases.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Area 4, which handles the Puerto Princesa City International Airport (PPCIA), also noted that no airlines have announced any cancellation of their respective flights.

Roque added, however, that the IATF is still finalizing the list of areas whose repatriation flights and ferries will be suspended.

“Nagpupulong ngayon ang IATF sa mga lugar na mayroon moratorium sa pagpapabalik ng mg LSI. Sa ngayon ang mga inaprubahan na may moratorium ay ang Region 6, Cebu Island, Region 8, at CARAGA,” Roque said.

Palawan still has an estimated 2,006 LSIs and ROFs who have yet to return.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.