A workers group on Saturday criticized Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan for opposing the quarantine of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) repatriated from the novel coronavirus or the 2019-nCoV-stricken city of Wuhan in Hubei, China at the Athlete’s Village of New Clark City.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said they were disappointed with the mayor’s seemingly unpatriotic attitude for getting in the way and obstructing a national health emergency concern for Filipino workers.
“We join the thousands of Filipinos in social media in bashing Catacutan for his unpatriotic stance. This is not the time for the mayor to oppose and act like a spoiled king and question the prerogative of the national government to turn the facilities located in Capas town (into a) quarantine (area) for our OFWs from Hubei,” Tanjusay said in a statement.
He said rather than helping and supporting government efforts to save distressed OFWs, Catacutan acted as if he owns the municipality.
“The Department of (the) Interior and Local Government (DILG) should slap Catacutan with a warning for obstructing a national health emergency prerogative to save our OFWs and their rescuers away from possible exposure to the virus outbreak,” Tanjusay added.
Catacutan, together with other municipal government officials, opposed the plan despite assurance from the Department of Health and a government inter-agency health committee that the community in Tarlac is safe from possible transmission of the virus.
On Friday, the municipal council of Capas unanimously passed a resolution objecting to the government’s plan to use the facility as a quarantine area.
Several countries have already repatriated their nationals from Wuhan City and Hubei province following a declaration from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern.
A Philippine government-chartered flight with health and diplomatic government officials is set to leave for Wuhan City to repatriate OFWs on Saturday night.
The flight is scheduled to arrive in the country on Sunday.
The returning OFWs will be quarantined at the facility for two weeks.
The drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija was initially eyed by the government as the quarantine area.
The Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the agency in charge of the New Clark City, offered the use of the facility.