ILOILO – Most of the cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in this province are not indigenous or locally transmitted, according to Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. * more stringent criteria in determining LSIs to avoid unintended migration They are mostly locally stranded individuals (LSIs), he stressed while calling on the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to extend the moratorium on the return of Ilonggos stranded elsewhere around the country. Lorenzana is the chief of the National Task Force Against COVID-19. “If we are to expect more LSIs and repatriated overseas workers, our handling should be at our maximum level. Crucial to us therefore is the condition of our quarantine facilities and the capacity of our frontliners. It is in this regard that we appeal for additional suspension of the return of LSIs to the province,” Defensor implored Lorenzana. “You remember the scenario last June 26 and June 27? The last two LSI voyages naton before the moratorium…around 700 ang nag-abot. Indi naton gusto ang scenario sa pier (in Manila) nga ang aton mga kasimanwa madungan abot didto, gutok, wala social distancing. Kon mag-amo na ang sitwasyon, sila ang una nga malatnan,” said Defensor./PN Defensor said he also wanted LGUs to improve first their quarantine facilities. “We really would like to welcome back stranded Ilonggos. However, we are presently constrained to earnestly request for a further suspension of their return until July 27 until we are able to execute the intended additional protocols,” read part of Defensor’s letter to Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense. * LSIs should be subject to real time-reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test before travelling to Iloilo The governor made it clear that while the provincial government wants stranded Ilonggos back, the LSIs should also make sure they are virus-free to protect their respective homes. The moratorium took effect on June 28. Data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed Iloilo’s total COVID-19 cases at 219 as of yesterday. Of these, 61 were indigenous while 158 were repatriates (LSIs and repatriated overseas workers). Likewise, he added, “we are reorienting our healthcare workers, Philippine National Police, responders on infection control protocols.” “We are now conducting an inventory of space, review personnel capacity, and adjustment of physical facilities,” Defensor informed Lorenzana. Community quarantine fatigue has adversely affected their execution of disease prevention and control measures, thereby leading to incidences of transmission, he explained. * organized return of LSIs for better observation of social distancing at the point of origin and during the voyage, and for better anticipation and handling by the local government units (LGUs) of their arrival and quarantine The additional protocols which Defensor wants to institute are the following: “After four months of community quarantine, we want to afford our frontliners a much needed break while reviewing the basics,” according to Defensor.