General guidelines for returning residents in Ilocos Norte were released on Friday, March 6 which stated that mandatory quarantine was no longer required as long as they have no symptoms.
Matthew Joseph Manotoc, who issued the guidelines, demanded proof of acceptance from their destinations that they have negative Covid19 test results and that these be shown at checkpoints by returning overseas Filipinos and locally stranded individuals or authorized persons outside residence coming from areas under general community quarantine.
The governor said that it is a risky decision to loosen border and quarantine protocols but it is good to find balance with the situation.
The move of the governor was criticized by the residents and netizens as it was against the health protocols imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emergence Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) for local government units.
Netizens posted that they were already sick and tired of more than a year of strict enhanced community quarantine and this time they expected the easing of protocols as approved by the national government.
A netizen posted on the province’s Facebook saying, “If you’re a resident of Laoag, why should you ask for acceptance to go home to your own residence.”
Manotoc apologized for the delay in the release of guidelines as the Provincial Health Task Force wanted to assure the safety of residents.
“I’m sorry for our lapses in terms of handling the Covid19 situation. I know we’ve been very strict and I know it’s very difficult to many,” he said. “I will continue to be a consultative leader. Nobody will be forced to quarantine but I strongly urged our returning overseas Filipinos and those who come from high-risk areas to minimize their movement for at least one week once they return home.”