Never too late for 1st Returning Overseas Filipino

The very first Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) to arrive in the province was resigned to finishing his 14-day quarantine at a government facility as ordered by local health authorities.

He did not question the LGU’s action even though it had been emphasized at a meeting of the Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases Provincial Task Force (EREID-PTF) that there is no need to place arriving ROFs for another 14-day quarantine as long as he or she has completed with IATF requirements prior to leaving their point of origin.

A separate guideline issued by the National Task Force-Corona Virus on the management of ROFs specifically stated that all ROFs in good health with a testing document showing a negative RT-PCR result for COVID-19 shall not be subjected to another 14-day quarantine by the receiving LGUs.

The arriving LSIs/ROFs are supposed to be brought straight to their homes where their health will be monitored by their respective Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).

But Ronie San Juan’s outlook changed when four of his fellow seamen on the cruise ship Sea Princess arrived under the Balik Happy Island Program (BHIP) of the provincial government. One of them was ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine but the other three were sent straight to their homes.

San Juan was also swabbed for his second RT-PCR test while his four colleagues were not.

“Pare-pareho lang naman kaming pig-quarantine sa Manila, kaya lang inot nagluwas ung negative result ko,” he told the Tribune on his 9th day at the Catanduanes National High School (CNHS) Ligtas COVID-19 facility.

If the Balik Happy Island Program guidelines are to be followed regarding the five-day validity of medical certificate, the result of that test would be considered “expired” as it is now more than five days since the specimen was taken, he stressed.

The CNHS quarantine facility is not fit, he stated, as he and the other occupants share the same comfort room which they had to clean by themselves as nobody from the Virac Rural Health Unit was regularly disinfecting the facility or even checking their condition.

On his 10th day, after venting his frustration publicly through the Tribune, the local health authorities apparently had a change of mind and sent an ambulance to bring him home to his house in Sta. Cruz, where he ended his 14-day quarantine last Monday, June 1.


As of last week, no one from among the island’s local government units has been included in the list of those who will be charged by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for violation of guidelines in the implementation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

But that could change soon, particularly if the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) completes the validation process of the emergency cash subsidy.

Under the process, the department would check the eligibility of the beneficiaries will be checked and see if there were duplication in the provision of the aid from DSWD and other agencies that are required to implement separate assistance under SAP.

This is why the LGUs have been asked to expedite the encoding and transmittal of their complete liquidation reports/

The validation and evaluation process will only be conducted by DSWD Field Offices once the data of each LGU has been submitted in full, as validation is conducted in the city/municipality, provincial, and regional levels.

After this, DSWD Central Office will conduct a deduplication process in which the names of the beneficiaries and their family members will be name-matched with the lists of the Social Security System (SSS), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Agriculture (DA), and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). The names of ‘left-outs’ or waitlisted or those qualified but were not included in the first tranche of the assistance will also be cross-matched with the lists of the said agencies.

At the local level, however, those interested to know, particularly those who felt they should have received the SAP, can just check on the list of recipients posted at their barangay halls.

The most likely violation, as far as Catanduanes is concerned, is the inclusion of obviously unqualified beneficiaries on the list, often with the knowledge and consent of the barangay captains.


THAT’S IT! A general noticed one of his soldiers behaving oddly. The soldier would pick up any piece of paper he found, frown and say: “That’s not it.” and put it down again. This went on for some time, until the general arranged to have the soldier psychologically tested.

The psychologist concluded that the soldier was deranged, and wrote out his discharge from the army. The soldier picked it up, smiled and said: “That’s it.”

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