Around 200 Boholanos who have been stranded in Bato, Leyte due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) community quarantine imposed in Bohol were transferred to an evacuation center and were given government aid on Tuesday, a day after one of the passengers aired their plight over social media and reached out to the Capitol.
According to Bohol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Anthony Damalerio, Governor Arthur Yap has coordinated with Bato Mayor Nathaniel Gertos who in turn agreed to assist the stranded passengers and move them from a gymnasium to an evacuation center.
Jhoanne Adecer who narrated the group’s situation over Facebook told the Chronicle that they were given porridge and bread upon reaching the evacuation center.
In a photo she shared, it was shown that the stranded passengers including three mothers travelling with infant were initially sleeping on flattened cardboard boxes at an under-construction gymnasium before they were transferred.
“I think they’re starting to move po. We’ve just been transferred to the evacuation center. They also gave us lugaw and two pieces of bread a while ago. We are still in need of help for our sleeping essentials [like] sleeping mats, pillows and blankets, and daily essentials,” she said.
Damalerio said that provincial government will not be lifting the community quarantine within the set period of March 16 to 20 and will not exempt anyone. The quarantine bars all sea and air travel into the province.
The Capitol will instead extend more aid to the stranded passengers through the Bato local government unit.
“Ang decision sa technical working group is mopdayon ta sa atong community quarantine, strong ang atong resolve ana. Mao pud na ang stand sa atong mga health experts, silang Dr. Lechago and Dr. Yul of the PHO, so maghuwat g’yud na sila sa five days,” he said.
The number of those taking refuge at the evacuation center is expected to be lower in the next few days as some have decided to stay with relatives in Leyte.
So far, none of the stranded passengers have shown symptoms of COVID-19 but they are set for thorough examination today through the Bato Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
They may enter Bohol through Ubay from Leyte once the community quarantine is lifted on Friday.
According to Damalerio, the passengers left Manila by bus last week to beat the community quarantine enforcement at the National Capitol Region on Sunday and in Bohol on Monday, but they were unable to make it on time.
The community quarantine was already implemented in Bohol when they arrived in Leyte on Monday.