By Prince Golez
Let arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) return to their home provinces, President Rodrigo Duterte reminded local government units (LGUs) in a speech late Monday.
“Alam mo hindi naman lahat talaga nagkasakit and it is very cruel actually to deny them to go home,” said Duterte who earlier ordered the release of 24,000 OFWs stranded in quarantine facilities in Manila to go home.
The Chief Executive emphasized that only the national government can impose travel restrictions because it’s the only agency that can declare a national emergency.
“I’m ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories and allow the Filipino to travel wherever they want,” according to him.
“‘Yung sequestration ng tao o lockdown should dovetail the national policy. Or better still, as not to confuse the people, you are not allowed to unilaterally declare na ganito, you are closing the entry, the egress, and ingress ng tao,” he added.
Duterte also instructed local governments to ask permission from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases before imposing COVID-related restrictions.
“Let me be very clear. Let me talk about legality para wala tayong sakit ng loob. Nobody but nobody can really stifle the right of [OFWs] whether he is traveling and working outside and coming in, going home.
“It is the constitutional right of people to go home [and] to travel. Do not impede it. Do not obstruct the movement of people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally,” he concluded.