Gov. Arthur Yap is opening Bohol to local stranded individuals (LSIs) who wish to come home but still without compromising the safety of the province from COVID-19.

LSIs are stranded Boholanos but not returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who have separate but still essentially similar protocols to follow in reference to the resolutions of the national Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Dr. Yul Lopez, COVID-19 Technical Working Group (TWG) spokesperson, said the Provincial government of Bohol (PGBh) is sending to Cebu City a medical team of two doctors from the Loon district hospital and one medical technologist to conduct free rapid antibody test on the LSIs.

Stranded Boholanos in Cebu will be the first to get entry to Bohol among the thousands of LSIs in the different areas in the country, including Manila and the National Capital Region.

But those who are outside Cebu may start registering with the Provincial Emergency Management Administration (PEMA)through its email address pemabohol2020@gmail.com.

The LSI documentary requirement guide approved and signed by the TWG/One Bohol Medical Technical Group has been modified to avoid financial burden on the LSIs who have already been in distress offshore.

The group consists of Lopez, Dr. Jefferson Ong, Dr. Angelito Lechago, Dr. Kazan Baluyot, Dr. Ray Atup, Dr. Celestina dela Serna, Dr. Ellan Lyll Salada, Dr. Jeia Pondoc and Dr. Fruserma Mary Uy.

While the province, with Department of Health (DOH) support, provides free rapid antibody test, it is the decision of those who may opt for the more reliable but expensive RT-PCR test at their own expense.On their quarantine clearance, Lopez said the LSIs will secure it from the local health officers, barangay health units/emergency health response team or barangay officials in their respective present areas of stay.

This is in case of their having undergone 14-day quarantine at the facilities of the LGUs where they have stayed or been stranded.If they stay at apartments or boarding houses, the owners/managers/carerakers/landladies/landlords will also sign the clearances attesting to their 14-day self-quarantine.

The concerned LGUs in Bohol will help in facitilating the clearances of their LSI constituents by communicating to their offshore counterpart LGUs where the sttrandees are.

SPECIAL PASSES

Lopez said the PGBh will communicate to the Cebu City government to issue them “special passes” so that they can go out for rapid antibody testing and process other requirements.

The same coordination will be done with the other LGUs in Cebu province where there are also stranded Boholanos.Coordination with the other provinces where there are also LSIs will follow in due time.

The accessible Cebu City location of the testing center manned by the medical team from Bohol will just be announced.POST UPDATED LGU NUMBERSThe LSIs asked the Bohol mayors’ league headed by Dauis Mayor Meriam Sumaylo to post online an updated cellphone directory or hotlines of its member LGUs.

Aside from registering their inividual names, locations in Cebu, addresses in Bohol, contact numbers and other personal information online via email to PEMA, the LSIs also have to register and coordinate with their concerned LGUs in Bohol.

The LGU will submit a list of its registered/contacted stranded constituents, preferably in a group of 10, to the TWG/PEMA for scheduling of their group test.

The result of the rapid antibody test wil be known in 16 minutes. Only those who are negative will be allowed back to Bohol.The medical team from Bohol will issue them medical clearance.

Further, the lSIs shall have respective affidavits/statements of undertaking of their willingness to directly undergo another 14-day quarantine at the facilities of their respective LGUs upon Bohol arrival.

The PGBh will pay for the ship fare of the returnees who will be transported by batch.During the PEMA meeting, the governor planned to accommodate a thousand stranded homecomers in June.Yap separately meet with the mayors on Friday on the guidelines and protocols for the LSI.

In the case of the returning OFWs, there are already established guidelines and protocols.ACID LESSONFor Yap, Bohol has learned an acid lesson from the fault of the national COVID-19 action plan execution which allowed the OFWs to proceed to Bohol without first the results of their RT-PCR test in their place of origin and port of transition made known to the province.

Except for one, the rest of the 65 OFWs in the first two batches from Manila and Cebu were confirmed negative of COVID-19 based on their repeat, confirmatory tests.

They all have gone home after their 14-day quarantine and medical clearance while the positive has remained in safe isolation/extended quarantine even if he has been asymptomatic or not showing symptoms.

According to DOH-7 Dir. Jaime Bernadas, the OFW was found to only have “remant” of the virus and that his infection was not active. His case was categorized as “false positive.”Lopez said the OFW has been “so well” and has now a “high level of immunity” which indicates his “revovery from illness.”

The case of the OFW was not a local transmission, which Bohol has none so far.

PREVENTION STILLBEST WEAPON

But Yap insisted that agrressive prevention must be sustained becasue it is “our best weapon” against the dreaded virus.”We are not afraid since what is the use then of our preparation.

We can manage, but we also have to admit the limitation of our healthcare system in case of one infection graduating into an outbreak,” he said.

The governor once more reminded of observing social distancing, wearing of face mask, curfew, no gathering, and staying at home stay if there is no essential or emergency to do outside.

Bohol is now under moderate general community quarantine (MGCQ), but “we don’t relax our aggressive prevention,” Yap stressed.

OTHER LSI RETURNFACILITATOR

Likewise, Lopez encouraged the stranded students not just in Cebu to access to the Hatid-Estudyante Program of the Department of Tranportation.

The PGBh has launched another fb page with an apt name Locally Stranded Individuals-Bohol to also assist the LSI. (Ven revo Arigo)