CEBU CITY – After two months of being locked down due to stringent quarantine protocols, all the 57 stranded individuals have been sent home to Mindanao on Sunday through the national government’s “Balik Probinsya” program.
The offices of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino organized the repatriation in an effort to reunite locally stranded individuals with their families.
Staff members from the offices of the three officials led in Sunday’s repatriation of the stranded individuals on board the Super Shuttle Ro-Ro 10 bound for Cagayan de Oro at Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City.
They are expected to arrive in their respective destinations on Monday afternoon.
Assistant Secretary Jonji Gonzales of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) said the stranded individuals include students who are taking reviews and blind massage therapists who had been working here, but decided to return home after they were affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu.
Of the 57 stranded persons, 51 are from Davao, one from Samal, Davao del Norte, two from Kidapawan, Cotabato and three from Cagayan de Oro.
Gonzales told the PNA that Dino and Go’s offices prepared the necessary documents for the travel of the stranded individuals from Mindanao.
The regional Joint Task Force CV Shield issued the travel authority for the 57 individuals, while the Department of Health (DOH)-Central Visayas provided them certifications stating they are coronavirus negative, he said.
All of the 57 were tested negative in the rapid diagnostic test conducted by the DOH-7 last May 16.
Gonzales thanked the cooperation of Philippine Coast Guard, the Maritime Industry Authority, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas, the Philippine National Police, the DOH, and the local governments of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Minglanilla for helping them in sending off the stranded people.
“This is our response to the program of President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bong Go under the Balik Probinsiya program,” he said.
DSWD-7 regional director Rebecca Gaemala on Sunday distributed PHP5,000 cash assistance to 24 individuals before boarding the vessel.
“It’s a joint effort. We distributed the financial assistance for the 24 strandees who are joining with 33 others in going home to Mindanao,” Geamala said.
Super Shuttle Ferry carried all the 57 passengers for free, Gonzales said. (ia/PNA)