By Antonio Manaytay
The regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG 9) has directed the provincial government to ensure “unhampered transit” of repatriated seafarers to their respective localities in Zamboanga Sibugay.
DILG 9 Regional Director Paisal Abutazil, in a memorandum dated April 27, informed Gov. Wilter Palma the seafarers will arrive in Zamboanga City at 9 p.m. on April 29.
The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) had sent off two batches of seafarers under the government’s Balik Probinsya Program.
Around 305 had composed the first batch that left Manila at 1 a.m. Monday onboard 2GO ship. Another batch had left Manila at 7 p.m. Monday.
The seafarers who will disembark in Zamboanga City port belong to the first batch.
According to the national Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, Abutazil said, the seafarers had complied with the mandatory quarantine and “undergone rapid tests before boarding.”
Rapid test refers to the Rapid Antibody Test for COVID-19.
The seafarers’ arrival had sparked fears the quarantine and rapid tests were not enough amid report that two Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Negros Occidental had tested positive of COVID-19.
Dr. Arthur Luspo, in his Facebook post, suggested that these OFWs must present PCR test results before the provincial government would allow their entry.
PCR is the shorthand for polymerise chain reaction, a “gold standard” in COVID-19 test.
Failure to comply with the requirements, said Luspo, is “tantamount to non-acceptance.” (Mindanao Sun)