MisOcc residents stranded in Manila are home on sweeper flight

OZAMIZ CITY, Misamis Occidental, May 23 (PIA) -- Over 152 residents who were stranded in Manila at the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic finally returned home in Misamis Occidental on Friday, May 22,  at 3:35 p.m. via Air Asia Manila-Ozamiz sweeper flight.

The provincial government of Misamis Occidental through the "Balik MisOcc Team" of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Provincial Health Office  (PHO) facilitated the repatriation of 152 persons here at Labo Airport in Ozamiz City.

The stranded OFWs and residents include seven from Aloran, one from Baliangao, seven from Bonifacio, nine from Calamba, 14 from Clarin, eight from Don Victoriano, 14 from Jimenez, four from Lopez Jaena, 13 from Oroquieta, 40 from Ozamiz City, eight from Panaon, one from Plaridel, one from Sapang Dalaga, 27 Tangub City and 16 from Tudela town.

In an interview with the Provincial Legal Office, Atty. Peter Lasmarias said the returning residents had already undergone rapid anti-body testing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) prior to boarding the flight.

“Only those who tested negative were allowed on the flight. Seven repatriates tested positive and didn’t make the trip and the provincial government has coordinated with Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Tourism (DOT),“ Lasmarias said.

A total of 152 repatriated OFWs and residents from Manila arrives at Labo Airport, Ozamiz City via Air Asia Philippines on Friday, May 22, 2020. (SMRN/PIA MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL)

Meanwhile, Provincial Tourism Officer Moriel Lee explained the preparations and protocols on handling the returning residents.

Balik MisOcc Program, he shared, is a team effort with the provincial government of Misamis Occidental, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, city and municipal officials, tourism officers, city and municipal health officers and other officials.

The cities and municipalities of the province had provided buses to pick up the repatriates who were immediately brought to the different quarantine centers to undergo another 14-day mandatory quarantine.

In an interview with media, some of the returning OFWs and residents have expressed gratitude to the provincial government for allowing them to come home.

The Province has funded the first sweeper flights for some 152 stranded residents from several parts of the Philippines.

This sweeper flight is organized by the Provincial Government of Misamis Occidental led by Governor Philip Tan in coordination with DOT-10. (SMRN/PIA MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL)

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