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Mayor undaunted in backing ‘Balik Probinsiya’ despite entry of infected beneficiary

TACLOBAN CITY—A case of one returning resident turning positive for coronavirus made no dent in a Leyte mayor’s support for the program called Balik Probinsiya (Return to Provinces) which seeks to reduce Metro Manila’s population by luring those from the provinces to leave and return to their hometowns.

Tanauan Mayor Pelagio Tecson Jr. said he would continue to accommodate those who want to return to the municipality as long as they meet requirements set by the local government unit.

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“They really need to return because they were displaced,” said the mayor at an online press conference on Friday (May 29).

“They are from Tanauan. It’s okay for them to return,” he said.

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Tanauan folk who wish to return should have health clearance and travel authority.

At least two of more than 100 Leyte folk who enrolled for the Balik Probinsiya program had tested positive for coronavirus.

One was the Tanauan native and the other was from Baybay City.

Tecson said the returning Tanauan native who tested positive was a 26-year-old construction worker who showed symptoms of COVID-19.

The patient is now confined in one of Tanauan’s three isolation facilities where he is being observed.

Tecson said the municipal government has received 127 requests from people who want to return to their home province from Metro Manila.

At least six people have so far returned to Tanauan through the Balik Probinsiya program, which also seeks to promote regional and rural development by sending those working in Metro Manila back to their hometowns.

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Tecson said those who will return to Tanauan would have to be tested for coronavirus and isolated for 14 days.

The town has three isolation facilities which could accommodate at least 47 people. Another facility is to be built by the municipal government, Tecson said.

The mayor reminded those who will return home to register at the local government unit or face a penalty of one month in jail, which was prescribed by a new ordinance.

Edited by TSB

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