El Nido, Northern Palawan. Cargo and passenger vessels arriving in El Nido town have decreased by less than 50 percent since the quarantine controls started in March, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
Coast Guard Station (CGS) El Nido acting commander LTJG April Bernal said that before the pandemic, they had observed the arrival of three cargo vessels a week. However, this decreased to one or sometimes zero due to movement restrictions to contain the virus.
“Iyong dating 100 percent niya, bumaba talaga ng wala pa 50 percent. Lahat na kasi noon na wala pa pandemic, sa isang araw lang, ang El Nido-Coron lang meron three to four na biyahe,” she said.
Bernal added that the traffic of passenger vessels also changed. She said that even Coron is accepting inbound guests but it still records zero passenger.
“Malaki ‘yong pinagbago, hindi na siya yong regular na schedule. Hindi na nasusunod ‘yong schedule niya dati, since nagkaroon ng pandemic, nabago ‘yon at ang biyahe nila ay naka-base na lang sa dami ng cargo na dinadala nila dito. Minsan sa isang linggo, halos wala, minsan once a week. May week na wala talaga,” she said.
“Although katulad ngayon sa biyahe natin na El Nido-Coron, Coron-El Nido, kahit tumatanggap na ang Coron kaso wala pa rin pasahero na lumalabas ngayon so wala pa rin tayong biyahe ngayon, mga fast cat natin ay wala pa rin biyahe. Yong Manila to El Nido, hindi na rin regular ang biyahe,” she added.
Even if El Nido has reopened its tourism industry for domestic travelers, PCG records show only 10 boats as the highest for a few days of reopening. Then it reduced to two or one boat a day on the following weeks.
Bernal said that the Coast Guard is securing records of the passengers, such as temperature levels before boarding on boats and ships. The PCG also requires the mandatory wearing of face mask, face shield, and seating capacity to observe social distancing.
She added that if there will be instances of stranded foreigner in Palawan who would like to visit El Nido, PCG will assure the coordination with the town where the foreigner will come from.
“Dapat meron siyang siguradong tutuluyan dito, sigurado na ‘yong tutuluyan niya. Iko-coordinate namin sa munisipyo na pinanggalingan niya kung coordinated yong paglabas niya sa munisipyo na ‘yon kung walang grounds na hindi namin siya tanggapin,” she said.
“Sa mga gustong pumunta ng El Nido sa pag-open ng aming turismo dito, para hindi magkaroon ng aberya, alamin natin kung ano yong requirements like makipag-coordinate na lang sa local tourism, LGU. Kung ano rin protocols ni coast guard, kailangan na lang sundin kasi yon ang kailangan ipa-implement,” she added.