LGU of Isabela de Basilan draws Social Distancing markers
June 9, 2020
June 9, 2020

As the city welcomes its first two guests at the HAPISABELA BAYANIHAN RECEPTION FACILITY (Isabela City Isolation Facility), the authorities’ attention was called to the seeming unpreparedness of the facility and of its personnel. With this, the team sincerely apologize for the shortcomings and commit to improve its services.

The mayor personally visited them immediately after the complaint was brought to her attention, past 10:00 in the evening, May 25.

Currently, there are two operational quarantine facilities:

For those who are symptomatic, located at 4th SF Battalion, Cabunbata, with 30 bed capacity (male, female, pedia), construction of additional toilet and bath for frontliners, repaired lighting fixtures, 30 oxygen tanks, 10 personnel assigned (3 nurses, 7 CQS staff), disinfection tents, PPEs, medical equipment, medicines, and other necessary tools to effectively combat COVID19 among suspected cases with mild symptoms.

For our asymptomatic BalikBayanis (LSIs and OFWs), we have the Begang National High School as our HAPIsabela BAYANIhan Reception Facility, prepared to accommodate 100 guests. We are grateful to the DepEd Isabela City Division and Regional Office 9 for allowing us the use of the school, the school officials headed by the principal, the students, the teachers, the parents, the barangay officials and residents of Barangay Begang. Much as we want to give the utmost comfort to our returning residents, we are constrained and can only make the most of a regular public school set up.

We know there is still much work to do, but for the information of the public, since Begang National High School was identified and approved by the DepEd regional office on May 6, 2020 we have made the following preparations:

1. 65 wooden beds

2. 20 mattresses

3. 32 folding beds

4. Purchase and installation of water system and piping connections direct to facilities

5. Purchase and installation of 3 (5,000L ea) water tanks

6. Genset (for installation)

7. Construction of two (2) additional kitchen facilities

8. Disinfection tent

9. 24/7 nursing services and daily monitoring

10. Sleeping quarters with wooden partitions and curtains

11. Reception area to receive personal effects from relatives (beddings, toiletries, other personal stuff)

12. On standby ambulance

The Begang facility will be manned by three teams each composed of 25 individuals (2 nurses, 2 cooks, 6 kitchen staff, 2 marketing, 2 transportation, 6 maintenance personnel and SWM, 2 WASH, 1 electrician, 2 mess hall staff) who will be staying in the facility for 7 straight days, and will also stay at a separate quarantine facility for 14 days before going back to their families. We hope the public understands the logistical challenges we face in starting and maintaining the facilities with limited time and resources. We are constrained too by GCQ limitations as majority of our procurements are sourced from Luzon and subject to availability of transportation.

Thus our sincerest apologies. Our first guest informed us that after getting off the cruise ship where he worked, he stayed for two months at Bayview Hotel before being transported here. We thus understand the disappointment of moving from a 4 star hotel to a public high school in the province. Nonetheless, we reiterate our commitment to improve the facility.

We would also like to inform future BalikBayani guests and their families that personal stuff like beddings, blankets, pillows, towels, toiletries, slippers, mosquito nets, and others shall be of the guest and will not be provided in the facility. This is to avoid contamination and for their own safety. Relatives are encouraged to provide their kin’s needs (and wants), subject to security and health protocols. A BAYANIhan spirit is what we call for.

The City Government of Isabela, unlike other LGUs as mentioned by the President in his live address last night, never refused to receive repatriated OFWs and stranded residents of our city. Despite the risks and protests from some sectors, we worked and continue to work, in coordination with the Provincial Government of Basilan for their safe return and provide free, decent temporary accommodation and basic needs (food, water, electricity, clinic, psychosocial support, etc. ) while on mandatory quarantine upon their arrival. We must not close our doors to our own people who wish to come home. And we appeal for patience and support both from those coming back and those who are here.

Those who wish to stay at a more comfortable accommodation like hotel or pension house in the city, may do so at their own expense and subject to acceptance of concerned establishment, after they have been turned over to us by the Provincial IATF for necessary profiling and monitoring. However, our BalikBayani guests will be confined only inside their rooms and are not allowed to receive any visitors.