The Maayo Shipping Lines, Inc. here has offered to ferry for free more than 400 residents of Negros Oriental who are currently stranded in Bato, Samboan town in Cebu following the sealing of the province’s borders.
This developed during a meeting on Monday between Gov. Roel Degamo, Vice Governor Mark Macias, and members of the provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) at the Visionnaire’s Lounge of the Negros Oriental Convention Center here.
Initially, it was decided that since the stranded passengers have already completed the 14-day prescribed quarantine period Covid-19, they can now be allowed to return to Negros Oriental provided, however, that upon their return, their local government units (LGUs) would receive them and ferry them back home.
Further, these people as initially recommended by health authorities, should undergo yet another 14-day quarantine once they arrive in their respective home towns or cities.
The returning residents, most of whom lost their jobs in Cebu following the declaration of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) there, failed to make it to the last barge trip of Maayo Shipping in late March.
Dante Uy Matiao, Maayo Shipping head, on Tuesday said that he has offered to bring home these residents on Wednesday, as their last day of quarantine would be today.
With a fleet of barges crossing the Tañon Strait between Cebu and Negros Oriental, Matiao said he could assure that physical distancing would still be observed while en route, as he reassured that the vehicles meeting them at Tampi wharf would also get on the barge so that these passengers could be ferried immediately to their individual destinations.
He recommended, however, that police personnel and a medical team (a doctor and a nurse) be on board the vessels for the humanitarian trips.
But the final say, he added, would depend on the recommendation of the IATF, particularly Dr. Liland Estacion, Assistant Provincial Health Officer and head of the province’s Incident Command System on Covid-19.
Another meeting was scheduled late Tuesday with the IATF to lay down the protocols for the safe passage of the stranded passengers and to ensure the involvement of the mayors in providing for their needs upon return to the province, Matiao said.
The estimated 440 people were housed at a public school in Samboan during the quarantine period, and their provisions were provided mostly by the town’s local government, with assistance coming from Negros Oriental, the LGUs from where these people originate, Maayo Shipping and other private entities. (PNA)