The military has maintained its tight watch on the fishing village of Paly Island in Taytay despite the downgrading of the entire province into a general community quarantine.
Authorities said they are ensuring that the island is cut off as an entry point for sea vessels from the nearby provinces of Romblon, Batangas, and Marinduque.
The island, whose residents rely mainly on live fish trading as a livelihood, was earlier placed under “extreme community quarantine” after some fishermen returned from Batangas. However, there has been no reported case of COVID-19 incidence on the island.
“‘Yong mga tropa nagco-conduct ng seaborne patrol gamit ang water asset na hiniram sa barangay. Paikot sila sa isla para masiguro na wala talagang papasok at palabas,” 3rd Marine Company of Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT3) acting commanding officer Cpt Benzon Babang told Palawan News.
He said local residents, however, are allowed to travel to town.
“Yung mga residente ay pwede namang lumabas, basta Palawan lang,” Babang said.
“Kahit GCQ na kasi dapat pa rin bantayan ang posible na pagpasok ng mga mangingisda o kahit sino galing sa kalapit probinsya. Sa likod kasi ng Paly, ‘yon na ang direction papunta sa Batangas, Romblom, Masbate at Mindoro,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barangay Kagawad Gorophy Mahusay said the quarantine has gravely affected the livelihood of most residents of the island who rely on live fish trading.
Mahusay, himself a live fish trader, said they had to stop the trade because of the lockdown.
“Hirap po kami simula noong nagkaroon ng COVID. Hindi rin kami makapag export ng suno, walang market. Ngayon ay nanlalambat lang kapag gabi o kaya namamalat, ‘yong isda sobrang mura rin, hindi pa rin sapat,” he said.
He said that they also received assistance from the barangay and local government of Taytay.
“Ayos lang naman kami kahit papaano, may tulong din ang barangay at munisipyo kaya lang iba talaga kapag may hanap buhay,” he added.
He said that the price of red grouper ranges from P1,600 to P2,000 while brown grouper is P600 per kilo.
“Mahal talaga ang suno umaabot ng P2,000 ang pula noong December tapos ang brown P600. Kaya ngayon ay wala talaga, walang market,” he said:
He said that offseason is being imposed on the suno from the months of March to May. However, compared to the offseason, the COVID-19 pandemic brings a big economic loss among the residents on the island.
“Kahit parang sumabay ang COVID sa off season ay mas mahirap pa rin. Dati kasi kahit off season ay pwede ka lumabas pwede ka magtrabaho hindi katulad ngayong may COVID limitado lahat ng galaw. Mahirap po,” Mahusay said.