41 repatriated seafarers from Zamboanga Sibugay to arrive soon

By John Mahusay, Correspondent

Some 41 repatriated seafarers from Zamboanga Sibugay will arrive soon after they had completed their mandatory quarantine supervised by the Bureau of Quarantine in Manila.

The 41 seafarers, according to Director Jeffrey Bangsa of Maritime Industry Authority Regional Office 9 (MARINA 9), will come from Metro Manila to Zamboanga City by sea.

In his letter dated April 18, Bangsa asked Gov. Wilter PalmaΒ  to help bring the seafarers from “the port of Zamboanga City to their respective residences.”

The MARINA regional chief said there is no definite date when these seafarers will arrive.

“But we will notify you the soonest possible time,” he added.

Distressed seafarers

The 41 seafarers were among the repatriated “distressed seafarers” from the different parts of the world. Repatriation means the return of someone to his or her country of origin.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had repatriated over 1,000 Filipino seafarers as of April 7.

All of them, according to DFA, had undergone the required inspection and quarantine protocols.

Over 500 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) had tested positive of COVID-19, the dreaded illness caused by coronavirus. To date, the disease had claimed the lives of 65 Filipinos abroad.

Unhampered transit

The Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has mandated all local governments to “allow unhampered transit of OFWs” after they completed the mandatory quarantine.

Some of these repatriated OFWs may undergo home quarantines upon recommendation by the Department of Health (DOH).

Urgent meeting

Palma has called for an “urgent meeting” Wednesday, April 22 with the provincial Task Force on COVID-19.

He also invited the mayors to the meeting for “their contingency measures in the event that they have OFW,” referring to the seafarers.

Last week, some 39 residents of the province had arrived from Cebu City.

Health officials place 39 Sibugay residents from Cebu on ‘quarantine’ after an uneasy homecoming

The provincial government had placed them on “strict quarantine” in a facility at Barangay Tenan of Ipil town. (Mindanao Sun)

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