Stranded South Cotabateños will be quarantined upon return

File Photo: South Cotabato Provincial Capitol

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Apr. 30 (PIA) —  South Cotabateños who will come home from being stranded in other places because of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) should immediately subject themselves to mandatory quarantine, officials of the provincial government here announced. 

“If you are one of those who will be coming back to South Cotabato, please submit yourself to the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT) in your community for monitoring. Again, cooperation is important for us to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Hannah Ebeo, health education and promotion  officer II, appealed during a press conference Wednesday. 

This, as the provincial government, through the Arts, Culture, Tourism and Sports (ACTS) Promotion Unit, is gearing up tracing of South Cotabateños who are stranded in different locations since the enforcement of ECQ due to the coronavirus disease pandemic and coordination with the local governments that will receive the returning residents. 

“Monitoring of returning South Cotabateños, especially those coming from locations with  sustained local transmission, is essential since they are possible carriers of the virus. By not reporting or by refusing to be monitored you might endanger yourself, your families, and your communities,” she emphasized. 

They may be quarantined for 14 days in their homes if they can be isolated from the other members of the family such as in a room with dedicated toilet.  Without such accommodation at home, the returning resident will be quarantined in the facility designated by the local government unit, Ebeo added. 

Meanwhile, Argie Ryan Asaria, tourism operations officer reported that as of 4:00 p.m. April 28 the ACTS Promotion Unit has already registered 2,437 individuals — mostly tourists, overseas Filipino workers, and students — who have expressed desire to return to the province. 

Based on the nearest airport, 1,501 are currently in Metro Manila, 233 in Cebu, 172 in Clark, Pampanga, 152 in Iloilo,  22 in Boracay, 21 in Palawan, 16 in Bacolod, 7 in Bohol, 4 in Tacloban, 3 in Albay,  and 2 in Dumaguete City. Also, 269  South Cotabateños are currently stranded in different provinces in Mindanao. 

Most of them are coming home to Koronadal City (749), Polomolok (570), Banga (203), Surallah (191), and Tboli (187). 

Contact details of these stranded individuals are endorsed to the tourism officers of the LGUs for coordination.  The registrants are also advised to request their family members or relatives to secure barangay certification for them. They are also asked if they are willing to comply with the quarantine protocols set by the provincial government.

Asaria stressed that the registration is intended to produce an inventory of stranded South Cotabateños and  coordination with LGUs concerned. This, he added, does not mean immediate travel back to South Cotabato.

“So far, there is also no guarantee from the provincial government unit and the local government units regarding paying for the fare of stranded tourists,” Asaria said. 

South Cotabato is among the provinces in the country that will shift to general  community quarantine effective May 1. (DED/PIA-XII)

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