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BONTOC, Mountain Province – One hundred fifteen Bontoc residents who are locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio City came home on May 23, 2020, aboard six buses chartered by the Bontoc municipal government unit (MGU).
Of the total, 39 LSIs came from La Trinidad, Benguet, and 76 from Baguio City who were all provided with free transportation by the Bontoc MGU under its second batch of Oplan Suma-ar, a localized version of the “Balik Probinsya” program of the national government.
The 2nd batch LSIs were accommodated after registration in the link posted in the Facebook page of the municipal government and after having confirmed their presence during their travel date. Also, they had agreed to undergo mandatory 14-day quarantine at the local quarantine facilities inspected and assessed by the rural health unit and/or barangay health stations.
Their families agreed to provide food rations during the quarantine period, and comply with the GCQ and MGU protocols.
The Bontoc municipal government set two pick-up points, one at the Benguet State University Parking Area to cater to LSIs in La Trinidad; and the other at the D’ Rising Sun Transportation Terminal at Slaughter Compound, Baguio City to cater to LSIs in Baguio City.
It is to be noted that the Bontoc MGU strictly complied with protocols and processes in assisting its LSIs with proper coordination with the municipal government of La Trinidad and the city government of Baguio.
All the 115 LSIs were required to secure health certificates from La Trinidad Health Office and Baguio City Health Office and travel authorities from the Philippine National Police.
Upon arrival in Bontoc, they were triaged by the staff of the municipal health office before being brought to the quarantine facilities after health staff administered the test to the LSIs using the Rapid Test Kits of which the results came negative.
Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey said that the Oplan Suma-ar materialized due to the collaborative efforts of different offices, agencies, and individuals.
“We are happy that our kakailyans from Baguio and Benguet are home. I am sure that their families have missed them so much. The Bontoc LGU is grateful for the cooperation of the LSIs, their families, as well as the different agencies involved in this undertaking.” the mayor added.
Odsey extended the profound gratitude of the municipality of Bontoc to La Trinidad municipal government and La Trinidad Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) under the leadership of Mayor Romeo Salda; to the city government of Baguio and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) under the leadership of Mayor Benjamin Magalong; and Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) for their support and assistance.
He likewise thanked BSU President Feliciano Calora, Jr., for his approval of the request of the Bontoc MGU for the use the BSU Parking Area as the pick-up point in La Trinidad; provincial Government of Mountain Province through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) for shouldering the snacks of the LSIs; D’ Rising Sun Transportation System, Incorporated management, drivers, conductors, and staff; Mr. Clarence Dalog for volunteering to ferry the Bontoc MGU team using his private car.
The Bontoc MGU team who escorted and assisted the LSIs coming home to Bontoc are Municipal Government Operations Officer Lourdes Claire Peel, Administrative Officer Cyross Kiat-ong, and nurses Oliver Gacusana and Achilles Feckleng, Jr.
The mayor further commended all frontliners, employees of the Bontoc MGU, barangay government units, and the volunteers for their selfless services in the fight against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the 82 LSIs who were accommodated in the first batch of Oplan Suma-ar who were fetched and ferried aboard Bontoc-MGU chartered buses, have already completed their 14-day quarantine. Also, they all tested negative of Covid-19 using rapid test kits.
By Alpine L. Killa