Around 10,000 locally stranded individuals (LSI) and overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from MIMAROPA have returned to their provinces between May 25 to July 4, of which 33 have been found to be positive for COVID-19, official data compiled by Palawan News from various provinces in the region indicate.

The impact of the lifting of the extreme lockdowns also saw Palawan emerging with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the region, with 46 as of July 5, 2020.

Palawan was the most impacted by the repatriations that followed the easing of travel restrictions, gaining 28 confirmed cases, followed by Oriental Mindoro with 4 and Romblon with 1, according to the tracking data of the Department of Health (DOH).

In Palawan, around 2,346 individuals finally made it to their homes since the national government eased the quarantine restrictions and allowed them to travel starting May 26. The latest batch of arrivals was on Saturday, July 4, aboard Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight that carried 47 individuals.

Oriental Mindoro governor Humerlito Dolor, in his State of the Province Address (SOPA) aired live on Facebook on July 1, said that around 1,926 Mindorinos were ferried home from Buendia, Santa Rosa, Turbina, Bacoor, Cubao, and Lipa.

Occidental Mindoro recorded a total of 6,975 as it concluded its “Balik-Probinsya at Libreng Sakay” program on June 30.

Apart from Palawan with 46 total COVID-19 cases as of July 5, Occidental Mindoro has 45, Oriental Mindoro with 27, Romblon with six, and Marinduque with six.

(With a report from Romar Miranda)