Dr. Mary Ann Navarro, chief of Provincial Health Office (PHO), talks to the reporters on Wednesday to explain the processing of requirements for the local stranded individuals (LSI).

The joint inter-agency task force (IATF) COVID-19 of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan have begun mobilizing to facilitate the return of locally stranded individuals (LSI) within mainland Palawan to their respective homes.

Dr. Mary Ann Navarro, chief of the Provincial Health Office (PHO), said in a press briefing Wednesday that the municipalities are “nearly ready” to accommodate the returning individuals who were left stranded upon the imposition of the lockdowns.

“Ready pero hindi lahat ready. Hindi pa 100 percent handa ang munisipyo, siguro 75 percent prepared,” Navarro said.

LSIs from mainland Palawan

Navarro also asked the Palaweños to be more patient in requesting medical clearance from the municipal health officers (MHO), which is required for the LSIs to travel home.

“‘Yong ibang munisipyo, isa lang ang doctor, or kasamang assistant or doctor to the barrio. Hindi araw-araw ang schedule [for issuance ng medical clearance]. Hindi puwedeng haluan ng checkup ng mga buntis o may sakit,” Navarro added.

Earl Timbancaya, chief of City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO), said that around 250 Puerto Princesa residents set to go home from other municipalities will still undergo a 14-day monitored quarantine that will be performed by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT).

“Hindi ganoon karami ang LSIs in municipalities compared sa from Puerto [Princesa] na lalabas. As of Wednesday, 250 plus. They will be under 14 days home quarantine with BHERT,” Timbancaya said.

Navarro warned that those who would break the quarantine protocols may face jail time in line with Republic Act (RA) 11332.

“‘Yong mga hindi susunod, they may be considered as “uncooperative”. Ang penalty is two to six months of imprisonment,” Navarro said.

LSIs from outside Palawan

Dr. Dean Palanca, incident commander from the City Health Office (CHO), said that rapid diagnostic test (RDT) booths will be installed at the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) and Puerto Princesa Port (PPP) to screen the returning LSIs from outside Palawan.

“Sasailalim sa rapid test lahat ng papasok. ‘Yong mga symptomatic or kung sakaling may makita kaming problema sa kanilang health, sila ay agad na i-isolate,” Palanca said.

Palanca also reiterated that for the returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW), strict quarantine in designated facilities will be implemented, and that “home quarantine is not an option” based on the local guidelines.

This, even when the OFWs have already completed the quarantine in Manila, and even when they already tested negative in real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Required pa din sila i-quarantine just to be sure na walang problema regardless ng negative RT-PCR nila,” Palanca said.

“‘Yong ibang OFW [sa Manila] may mga kasama sa ibang dorm which is hindi sigurado kung safe ang facility. Ba-biyahe sila sa bus at sa airport, hindi tayo sigurado na walang virus na makakasalubong,” Palanca added.