ALABEL, Sarangani, July 9 - Despite the possibility of bringing in more Covid-19 cases into the province, Sarangani local government units (LGUs) from the provincial level down to the municipal and barangay levels continue to assist and accommodate returning Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).
This is part of the national government's "Hatid Probinsya" initiative, a short-term humanitarian effort to assist all stranded individuals, tourists, students and OFWs due to the lack of public transport from Metro Manila to the provinces.
As of July 9, Sarangani has already nine confirmed Covid-19 cases with three recoveries and received a total of 153 returning OFWs and 721 LSIs.
During the 1st Provincial Local Health Board Meeting on July 3, Dr. Arvin Alejandro, provincial health officer, said "we are really expecting na tataas yung positive cases natin that will be coming from our LSIs and OFWs unless na mahinto yung pagpasok nila."
"But," Dr. Alejandro said, "we cannot do anything naman kasi kawawa din yung mga LSIs and OFWs kasi stranded sila doon sa Manila, nagdugay sila didto and kung kailangan nila og tabang, dili sila basta-basta makakuha labi nag amelioration kay dili sila taga-didto."
(They stayed there and if they need help they cannot just get any assistance especially amelioration as they are not from there)
"We really have to accept them because they are our constituents, ang importante talaga sa mga municipalities and mga barangays should have to strengthen yung isolation ng mga dumarating kasi pag dating nila, kailangang naka-isolate ng maayos at talagang wala munang mga bisita," he added.
With this situation, Dr. Alejandro appealed to the public and the family members of the returning LSIs and OFWs to strictly avoid visiting them at the isolation facility.
He also stressed that keeping away from the LSIs and ROFs until their 14-day quarantine is over is one of the most effective moves the public can do to avoid local transmission.
PROCESS AND PROTOCOLS
Dr. Alejandro disclosed the process and protocols being conducted upon arrival of the LSIs and OFWs in the province.
"Upon arrival sa airport, dinidiretso na natin sila sa isolation facility and do anti-body testing from 3rd to 5th day since pagdating nila, kung makwaan nato silag IGM positive or IGG positive we do the swab test right away and diyan tayo nakakakuha ng additional cases natin."
Dr. Alejandro said "the key para hindi tayo magkaroon ng local transmission is good isolation protocol and system sa ating isolation facility and attitude ng mga family members nga naa diri sa community nga dili sa maki-istorya o muduol sa atong mga LSIs and OFWs." (Family members should not talk or come near to our LSIs and OFWs)
For movements within the province, according to Dr. Alejandro, "pwede naman makapag travel from munisipyo to munisiyo under the MGCQ. Dito sa Sarangani, nasa MGCQ (Low Risk) tayo pero magdi-dipende lang yan sa stricter guidelines per municipality na issued nila."
Under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ-Low Risk), each of the seven towns in Sarangani has issued their respective checkpoint protocols and measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
ALABEL: Valid ID is required for individuals coming in.
Workers from the Capitol and private-owned companies who are living outside the town can also present company-issued identifications.
Individuals aged 21 and below, 60 years old and above and those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women are required to remain in their residences at all times.
Curfew hours from 10pm to 4am is also strictly implemented.
MALAPATAN: "No ID, No Entry" policy is still observed.
Valid identification card is still required from all constituents, passersby, travelers in each point of entry and out of the municipality.
The Identification Card (ID) must state the birthdate and residential address of the owner such as locator slip, food pass, travel pass, border pass, essential worker pass and municipal quarantine/travel pass.
Curfew hours from 9pm to 4am is still enforced but only for non-workers.
Any person below 21 years old, and those who are 60 years old and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks and pregnant women are required to remain in their residences at all times.
GLAN: Individuals and essential workers coming from outside the territorial jurisdiction of the town have to present any valid ID at the checkpoints.
Also, individuals 0 to 15 years old and 60 years old and above, and with immune-compromised or sickness are also barred to go out, not unless for essential travels.
Curfew hours from 9pm to 5am is still enforced.
MAASIM: For individuals entering Maasim especially those who are essential workers must present any valid ID such as company ID and certificate of employment to be presented to the personnel manning the border checkpoints, for record purposes.
Any person below 18 and those who are 60 and above, those with immunodeficiency or other health risks, and pregnant women are required to remain in their residences at all times.
Curfew hours from 9pm to 5am is still observed with the exemptions of those health workers, authorized government officials, traveling medical or humanitarian reasons and individuals providing basic services.
KIAMBA: Medical certificate and valid ID are required for all individuals and private vehicles entering the town.
Individuals aged 18 years old and below, and 60 years old and above and those who have existing illnesses are prohibited to go outside, except for essential appointments such as medical consultations.
Curfew hours from 9pm to 4am is also strictly observed.
MAITUM requires medical certificate, travel pass, and valid ID for all individuals entering the town from other municipalities and outside Sarangani.
Individuals aged 20 years and below, 60 years old and above, and those with existing illnesses are prohibited to go outside their homes.
Curfew hours from 9pm to 5am are also strictly implemented.
MALUNGON: "No ID NO Entry" policy is also enforced.
Valid identification is required from all passersby, travelers coming into Malungon in each point of entry, including upon arrival to barangay destination.
Transiting drivers, helpers, and passengers are required to fill up border pass given at the entry checkpoint and to be submitted at the exit checkpoint for contact tracing purposes.
Age groups 17 years old and below and the elderly or those aged 60 and above, including those categorized with high health risk or those who reside with persons with co-morbidities or other risk factors shall remain at home.
Curfew hours is observed from 9pm to 4am.
MINIMUM HEALTH PROTOCOL
As of this writing Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Maasim, Kiamba and Malungon towns each have one Covid-19 case, while Maitum town has three.
Alejandro also disclosed that "all our municipalities have something in common despite having yung different specific protocols sa checkpoint and even yung sa loob na mismo ng kanilang town which is the minimum health protocol."
"Proper handwashing, footbath and thermal scanning is hindi talaga mawawala yan sa ating checkpoints. Meron din tayong social distancing na everybody should strictly practice and observe. These basic components of the protocols ay kinakailangan talaga especially for those individuals coming in Sarangani para talagang mas maiwasan natin yung pagkakaroon ng local transmission."
"But what's important ngayon," Alejandro reiterated, "is we have to contain the virus para wala tayong local transmission and that will be feasible if every individual will be implementing the wearing of facemask, proper handwashing, social distancing and labi na ang social distancing sa mga LSIs and OFWs upon arrival until such time na 14-day quarantine is over." (Joshua John Pantonial/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)