Mary Catherine Ynez U. Lavega| January 5, 2021
Two-hundred locally stranded individuals (LSIs) are expected to arrive in Antique within this weeks, says Mrs. Cheryl Lynn S. Quanico, head of the LSI Subtask Group from the Provincial Planning and Development (PPDO). For 2020, around 19, 000 LSIs have been received, making Antique rank first with the most number of LSIs in Region VI. Despite this, the province has only recorded 89 COVID-19 confirmed cases.Quanico says the LSI Subtask Group is expecting the same number of LSIs from 2020 to enter the province this 2021. In preparation for the upcoming traffic of LSIs, LGUs have been repairing their isolation facilities during the course of the holiday break. “Especially San Jose, they have a new iso-fac (isolation facility) in Dalipe already. Wara ron rigto sa may San Pedro,” says Quanico. The Diosdado Macapagal Multi-Purpose Gym in Tradetown, Dalipe has been reconstructed to serve as the municipality’s isolation facility, which is conveniently closer to the San Jose Municipal Health Unit (MHU).Quanico further clarifies that requirements for LSI travel are still the same for now, as her office is waiting for a new Executive Order from Governor Rhodora “Dodod” Cadiao and the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (PIATF). “The protocols are still the same. We have to get the Medical Certificate, then the Travel Authority from the PNP. Then after that they get the Letter of Acceptance and Letter of Coordination from the LGU where they reside.” Quanico also warns LSIs on fake news circulating that LSIs traveling from the provinces to Manila are required to undergo swab tests. “Di kamo magpati unless we have the official issuance or advisories from the IATF national level.”Quanico highly encourages LSIs to use the Philippine Airline flights from NAIA to Antique scheduled every Wednesday and Saturday for ease of travel as Iloilo and Caticlan airports are not accepting non-residents and non-tourists, respectively. Alternatively Antique LSIs can travel via air through Kalibo Airport or via sea through Starlite Ferry trips from Batangas to Caticlan.Non-Antiqueños are also allowed to travel via Antique in going home to nearby provinces as long as their respective LGUs will pick them up.