Gov’t is clueless on movement of people

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    ‘Now we see the folly that has been committed, and the government is stumbling over itself to correct the error.’

    AFTER failing to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, and after notching up the highest single-day surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, several top government officials are now seriously looking into why we are failing in the fight against the pandemic.

    The single-day high was 2,434 the other day, putting the national total to 44,254 patients. There were also 1,297 deaths and 11,942 recoveries.

    Yesterday, Palace official Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo raised concerns about “unsupervised” and “unmonitored” movement of returning residents, saying this may be among the reasons for the surge in coronavirus cases in the provinces.

    Encabo belongs to the “Hatid Tulong” technical working group that oversees the transport of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) back to their hometowns. He believes that there is a group involved in colorum transport activities, ferrying LSIs to the provinces while refusing to follow protocols on rapid tests or swab tests.

    Encabo lamented that several organizations and local government units were not coordinating with the proper government agency to give protection for the LSIs, such as what happened recently in Samar.

    The Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) has temporarily suspended the return of stranded travelers to their hometowns in Western Visayas, Cebu Island, Mactan, Eastern Visayas and Caraga region. The moratorium was imposed since these areas don’t have enough quarantine facilities yet to accommodate the returning residents.

    Noting the flaws in the system, the government is now regulating the transit of the stranded individuals and requiring them to undergo polymerase chain reaction testing before they are allowed to board their flight, ship or bus ride home. Previously, they were only subjected to rapid tests.

    We believe the problem is systemic, and sadly, the government had taken missteps in the movement of people, such as that one proposed and sponsored by Sen. Bong Go, which President Duterte blindly approved.

    Now we see the folly that has been committed, and the government is stumbling over itself to correct the error.

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