‘Paglobo ng COVID-19 [sic] case mga probinsya, sinisi ng IATF sa DILG; Balik Probinsya Program, walang koordinasyon’

DILG Regional Office 6 through its Regional Director is the Chairperson of the IATF. Although the Chairperson, DILG 6 cannot act solely on matters presented to the IATF. All actions and decisions are collectively made.
National Government Agencies, including local government units (LGUs), take part in this national endeavor. Each has a role to fulfill.
Like any activity in a national scale and with the complexities of COVID -19, there has to be bumps along the road. We have an unfamiliar and unseen enemy. Yet, all the men and women in the government are working tirelessly and risking their own safety to combat the virus while continue serving the people.
In these trying times, we all need a shoulder to lean on, a voice that could uplift our spirits, information to properly guide us out of this pandemic, and the cooperation of everyone.
The interview with Atty. Roy Villa as the spokesperson of the RIATF may have been taken out of context, when he referred to the DILG’s role in coordinating the arrivals of the Locally-Stranded Individuals (LSIs) in the region.

As to the Balik Probinsya reference, this has been temporarily suspended, subject to the guidelines to be issued later on. The arriving LSIs are still subject to the National Task Force Order 2020-02, which provides for the detailed rules and procedures in the Management of the LSIs.
Further, the story being referred to is the arrival last July 18, 2020 of a shipping vessel from Manila at Iloilo Port, which was carrying 1151 passengers bound for Iloilo and Bacolod. This arrival was coordinated, on the day of departure (July 17, 2020) to the Site Task Unit LSI, headed by the DILG. The information came after the inquiry made by DILG 6 on the relayed data from Manila, that there are 292 passengers waiting at the Manila Port bound for Iloilo.
Immediately, DILG 6 has called up its field offices in the region, with the instruction to inform the receiving LGUs of the arrivals, pointing out the need to accept them, and subject them to local health protocol.
In a short period of time given with this arrival, in the early morning of July 18, the Local Government Units in the region have responded to pick-up their LSIs, as early as possible, given their logistics capacity.
It has to be noted that this arrival came after the lifting of the travel moratorium in the region last July 15, 2020. This is after a 2-week suspension of LSI travels was granted by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as the National Task Force Chair.
The 858 passengers disembarked in Bacolod City, prior to the ship’s arrival in Iloilo City at around 2:00 AM. The remaining 291 passengers were off to the provinces in Panay, and Guimaras, with Iloilo Province having the bulk of arrivals at 202.
The members of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force and the Regional Task Force 6 have been jointly working to establish a seamless coordination both from the National Task Force, and to the Local Government Units.
Meanwhile, the DSWD 6 has set-up a provision for the arriving LSIs, wherein food packs were given upon their arrival at the Port of disembarkation.
Moreover, we are appealing to our friends in the media to help channel the best information to our reach. As this time requires us to be more vigilant and prudent, the right material is crucial in creating a well-informed citizenry, and we in the DILG 6 are willing to provide the right context as long as we are given the opportunity.
We assure the public, especially the Local Government Units in the region, that DILG and all National Government Agencies are working 24/7 to ensure that the management of LSIs in the region will be in accordance to the existing protocols.
In solidarity, we remain committed to our efforts to HEAL as ONE!