As of 5:00 PM of August 5, 2020, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Office 13 – Caraga has recorded a total arrival of 10,303 Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) beginning May 16, 2020 when the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 Order 2020-02 issued on May 13, 2020 relative to the Operational Guidelines on the Management of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) became effective.

The Regional Task Force (RTF) – Caraga activated the Sub Task Group (STG) on the Management of LSIs headed by the DILG in the regional level. This is to provide a systematic and coordinated approach in facilitating the return of LSIs to their respective residences in the region. More so, the heavy influx of LSIs has resulted to a growing concern of local government units (LGUs) for the provision of the logistic and other resource requirements for food, transportation, testing kits and rising demand of quarantine facilities for the arriving LSIs.

The DILG, as early as April 23, 2020 has designated all its City / Municipal Local Government Operations Officers C/MLGOOs as the DILG - Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and LSI Operations Desk Officers pursuant to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-075. The DILG Regional Office LSI Team through the DILG Operations Desk Officers assigned in the LGUs are regularly updating the Centralized Database for Locally Stranded Individuals that serves as the source of report and policy assessment for the management of LSIs to the NTF – Task Group on Response Operations (TGRO).

In Caraga, a One-Stop-Shop for the Management of LSIs were established in every LGU, as well as in the regional level. An Advisory issued by DILG last May 28, 2020 has requested LGUs through their Local Task Forces (LTFs) to scale-up the operations in the administration of LSIs by setting-up a One-Stop-Shop (OSS) in their respective LGUs to minimize the movement of people. The OSS is also intended to ensure the proper registration of LSIs in the barangays, provide assistance in securing the Medical Clearance Certificate (MCC) and Travel Authority (TA), develop and promote localized processing system consistent with the IATF guidelines, and monitor the status of LSIs particularly when they reached their destination.

The Butuan City Sports Complex, a strategic location in the region, was made as the regional drop-off point for the LSIs. Regional OSS, composed of the DILG, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management (LDRRM) Teams of the provinces are present in the area.

A daily count of inbound and outbound LSIs in the region are regularly communicated to other regions through their Regional Task Forces (RTFs). Updates of these figures are also posted in the DILG Caraga Facebook Page and DILG Caraga website at www.caraga.dilg.gov.ph every day. Also, a daily status on the Capacity of the Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs), to include the isolation and quarantine facilities are also shared to other RTFs to notify and advise other regions should their LSIs leaving their areas of responsibility be properly accommodated during their arrival in the region.

As to the latest update, the management of LSIs shall continue until all these LSIs have reached their places of residences. Many of these LSIs were caught up in quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic while several were due to job lay-offs and unemployment causing their involuntary displacement.

By LGOO VI FLORIAN FAITH JR. P. BAYAWA    

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