Governor Gwendolyn Garcia ordered the removal of all barriers installed in barangays and sitios in Cebu Province, except for the legitimate checkpoints of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Sukad karong gabhiona, panangtanga na na inyong bari-barikada dinha. Nanobra na kanang inyong pagkapoderoso. Nakakupot ramog gamayn’ng gahum mora namog masters of the universe,” Garcia said during her livestream program “Ang Probinsyana” on Tuesday, June 2.
Garcia’s decision stemmed from a complaint she received from a returning Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who was refused entry by barangay officials upon his return on Monday evening, June 1 in Purok 5, Sitio Ilaya, Barangay Panalipan, Catmon town.
Jude Matt Diaz, who was with three other OFWs, were transported from Cebu City to Catmon onboard an ambulance. They were quarantined in Cebu City for five days upon arrival from Manila while social preparation was being done in the receiving local government unit (LGU).
The OFWs were already cleared to go home, carrying with them proper documents including the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) negative test result.
However, when Diaz arrived in Barangay Panalipan, barangay captain Marlon Rule told him that he will undergo isolation instead of home quarantine. This led Diaz to seek the governor’s assistance.
Garcia then called Rule and told him to accept Diaz. However, while on the phone, she heard someone, who was later identified as councilman Nelsonilo Pono, berating, shouting and calling Diaz names.
“Kaning OFWs tagaan natog igong respeto tungod nila dako ang ilang contribution sa economy sa Pilipinas. Mismo si presidente (President Rodrigo Duterte) gitagaan og igo nga respeto, pasalamat sa ilang contribution sa economy of the Philippines as well as to their families,” she said.
The governor clarified that there is already an established protocol for returning OFWs. Diaz and his fellow returning OFWs completed their mandatory quarantine, tested negative of Covid-19, and even qualified for home quarantine as his home suited the qualifications and he didn’t show any Covid-19 symptoms.
Based on the protocol, those that show symptoms of the virus will be isolated.
Catmon Mayor Irish Gestopa also informed the governor that social preparation for their return home has been done.
“Niingon ko, kap pila diay ka gobernador dinhi kay grabi paman mo ka strikto kaysa pamaagi nato sa Kapitolyo. Iya kunong tugtan apan sa background nag singgit-singgit ni si Konsehal Nilo Pono,” Garcia said.
Because of this incident, the governor called on all barangay officials in the Province to not let this happen in their localities.
“Let this be a message to all our towns and cities. Dili ko mutugot nga ingon niana ang pagtatrar nato niining mga nag-sakripisyo sa laing nasud, giantos ang kamingaw, kining uban gi-antos ang pag-abusar sa ila kaugalingong employers sa gawas aron makahatod og kwarta sa pamilya. And in so doing, maoy pinakadako nga remittance sa dolyares sa atong ekonomiya ang atong OFWs,” she said.
“Ayaw ko ninyo huwata nga ako pay motangtang anang inyong barikada. Ang mahabilin lang ang legitimate checkpoints sa police. Dili mo mga police. Kana inyong gibutang nga ali-ali tangtanga na,” she added. (Mylen Manto, Vanessa Almeda)