File photo of Coron municipal hall.

Coron officials are pinning their hopes for a downward trend in Covid-19 infections by mid-June following the imposition of strict quarantine restrictions in the island municipality.

Coron mayor Mario Reyes, Jr. said the town has been hard hit economically by the pandemic because it is heavily reliant in tourism incomes and the sector has been down.

In a live briefing with the Public Information Office (PIO) held Wednesday, Reyes explained that 80 per cent of Coron’s residents are tourism workers, and that the only way to ensure that the residents do not suffer from joblessness and hunger.

“Wala tayong mapuntahan eh. Most of Coron ay naka-lean sa tourism. Mag-decline lang nang konti at ma-contain natin itong COVID. Simula noong nagkaroon ng COVID, masama na lalo na sa financial aspect ng individual tourism establishment,” he added.

Reyes explained that as long as they reopen, there will be no problems with encouraging tourists to visit, based on what they observed during their previous reopening. 

“Nag-[re]open kami once eh, tuloy-tuloy ang mga tao. Sa barko, sa airport, triple-triple ang mga pasahero. Every month, ganoon,” he said.

The lockdown in eight Coron barangays – Poblacion 1 to 6, Guadalupe, and Tagumpay – has been extended until May 31. Strict measures are still in place, such as a 24/7 curfew and shuttle services for private employees to prevent the use of public transportation. As of May 26, the town’s official tally counts 146 active cases and a total of seven COVID-19 deaths. The town has yet to formally reopen inbound travel and tourism through official guidelines.

In a departure from a previous statement he made on national television on Tuesday, Reyes said that he no longer believes that their COVID situation is under control.

“Base sa nakikita ko, baka mga mid-June pa talaga bababa ang mga kaso. Mahirap na magsabi na kontrolado ang sitwasyon kasi may casualties na tayo,” he added.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.