Authorities are coordinating the return of some 200 Palaweño fishermen stranded in Occidental Mindoro at the onset of the Luzon-wide quarantine.
Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP)-Puerto Princesa City Station commander Severino Destura Philippine said Saturday that around 200 local fishermen from about some 13 sea vessels were being coordinated for their return to the province.
”Sa initial na report na natanggap namin, 12 to 13 na bangka from Sablayan, [Occidental] Mindoro. Mga taga-Palawan karamihan [galing Barangay] Bagong Sikat at Bagong Silang,” he said.
Destura said that the coordinated repatriation of the stranded fisherfolks by the local government units (LGU) was a strategic move.
“Kung pagbabawalan pa natin na bumalik sila, magiging problema pa natin ito sa security kasi gagawa at gagawa ito sila ng paraan na umuwi ng paisa-isa so mas maganda nakita na ng security task group at saka ng water cluster na i-regulate na lang ang pagbalik nila dito,” said Destura.
The stranded local fishermen were under quarantine pending clearance from the PCG Occidental Mindoro. However, the exact date for their voyage home is still to be set.
“Na-quarantine din sila don [sa Mindoro], hindi naman din sila pinayagang bumaba. Ang unang report sa amin ang tao is 200 plus pero magbabase na kami kung ano ang ibigay sa amin ng counterpart namin kung ilan ang umalis doon sa Mindoro ay ilan ang iniexpect namin na darating dito. Sa ngayon wala pang date,” he added.
Upon their arrival, they will also be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. CGDP-PPC Station has yet to clarify their quarantine facility, but the initial plan is to have them remain aboard their boats and not be allowed to disembark as they wait for their quarantine period to lapse.
Yong inaasahan namin sana yong Napaliwanagan na boat don naregulate naman sila at saka na-explain naman sa kanila yong mga procedures na dapat nilang iobserve para pagdating dito ganun din ang gawin nila kasi yong ibang dumating din dito ganun po ginawa hindi po sila dumaong agad naghintay ng coastguard na magcheck sa kanila.
“Kahit na sabihin nila na na-quarantine na sila doon, hindi naman sila [papayagang] bumaba dito [habang] ipapatupad natin ‘yon mag-quarantine pa din sila sa boat nila for more than 2 weeks,” he added.
The Bgy. Irawan local council on Saturday held a public consultation as it proposed to convert the new public market, which is still under construction, as a temporary quarantine facility for local residents who are expected to go home from outside the island province. However, it was yet to be determined if the City government would adopt such a proposal.
Occidental Mindoro has three confirmed COVID-19 cases.