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By: Mylen P. Manto | Published Wednesday, April 29, 2020
The PNP, AFP, Coast Guard, and other personnel manning border controls are asked to strengthen their monitoring after reports of returning OFWs arriving at their homes without following protocols. (Junjie Mendoza)

Three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) arrived in Cebu and were able to go to their homes without following procedures, while a government nurse is being investigated for “smuggling” two people from Cebu City to Toledo City. 

In her daily live streaming on Facebook, Garcia on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, said she was surprised upon learning that three OFWs were able to enter Cebu through land trip. One was able to go home to a subdivision in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City. The two others were from Samboan and from Tudela.

“Wa gyud mi mahibaw. Ni report na ang mayor sa Samboan nga kuno dunay muabot didto unya di siya mudawat. Ni report ang mayor sa Tudela nga naa nay naghuwat kay mu dritso nas Tudela og gani ang Talisay ni dritso na, ang ni report nako empleyado sa Capitol kay nagpuyo sa sama nga subdivision,” she said.

The OFWs entered the Cebu port, bringing clearances issued by the regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-5 and by Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) chairperson Claudio Yucot.

The OFW from Talisay City was also armed with a certification issued by Barangay Captain Margarita Mendoza Clemente of 667 Zone 72-District V Ermita, Manila that he has completed the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

“Dili mani ang proper procedure. Giklaro mani nato sa IATF, kun unsay proper procedure. Magpa quarantine man mo,” Garcia said. She pointed out reports that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) was even tasked to trace OFWs who evaded proper procedures for quarantine. 

“Naa may klaro nga quarantine facility sa Manila. Mao ni nahitabo gikan sa barangay chairman, ang OCD-Region 5 ni issue og certification. Tungod niini kay disaster regional chairman siya gituuhan sad sa police and coastguard, mao na nakapuslit naabot diri nato,” Garcia said.

The proper procedure entails certification from the Department of Health, a travel pass issued by the IATF, and acceptance from the local chief executive in the point of entry, the same with the 185 repatriated Filipino seafarers arrived at Cebu City port on April 28 from Manila.

“Tungod kay OCD ni issue gipaagi through the disaster-the DRRMOs (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office).  Ako ni warning sa tanang DRRMOs, una sa tanan klaro ang procedure. Angay unta dunay certificate of acceptance gikan sa local chief executive, pasabton una ang mayor dili kay ibaliwala nalang. Di kay nag issue ang Barangay Captain sa Ermita, Manila, unya gisundan pud og Memorandum gi issue sa Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council of Region-5. So gipalusot nila, naglandtrip,” she said.

Based on her Executive Order (EO) it was clear that only cargos are allowed entry in Cebu ports and not passengers, Garcia said.

With this incident, she is calling the PNP, Philippine Coast Guard, and the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) to help the local chief executives by strengthening their monitoring to prevent a similar incident. 

All MDRRMOs and City Disaster Response Units must inform their local chief executives if they will receive notifications from OCD instead of acting on their own, she said.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Ababon, an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse supervisor of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) allegedly brought a 14-year-old boy and 22-year-old Stephanie Paran from Cebu City to Barangay Poog, Toledo City on April 24.

Garcia said the Provincial Government will conduct an investigation on the matter because Ababon violated the Executive Order she issued that those not included in the exemptions are barred entry and exit at the borders of Cebu City and Cebu Province. 

“I don’t know giunsa paglusot aning duha, nanago ba kaha ni o giunsa kaha nig rason ni Benjamin. Ako na gitawgan si Aquino (Dr. Gerardo Aquino, Jr. head of VSMMC) pagahimuon ang proper investigation bahin niini lakip na usab ang investigation sa province pinasubay niining incident report gikan sa Poog, Toledo City kabahin ni Ababon,” she said. (Mylen P. Manto)