Nine Boholanos studying at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who were stranded in the school’s campus in Laguna due to travel restrictions set amid the coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 pandemic have been flown to Bohol.
The students were flown to the province on Friday afternoon on board a sweeper flight mounted by the government for locally stranded individuals (LSI) in Metro Manila.
They arrived at the Bohol Panglao International Airport (BPIA) in Panglao town at 3:30 p.m. along with 103 other LSIs.
In a statement, the UPLB said that the return of the Boholano students was made possible through the university’s Oplan Hatid Program which has been facilitating the homecoming of stranded students from various provinces.
According to the UPLB, the school coordinated with the Bohol Provincial Government through League of Municipalities Philippines – Bohol president Mayor Marietta Sumaylo of Dauis and Minute Burger to arrange the students’ trip.
The university transported the students at 9:40 a.m. to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) where they took an AirAsia flight direct to Panglao.
Dr. Yul Lopez, the Capitol’s spokesperson on COVID-19-related issues, has earlier thanked Sumaylo for her efforts in arranging the return of LSIs from Manila to Bohol.
The Capitol health official said that the LSIs in Manila were able to secure travel authority from the National Capital Region Regional Police Office (NCRPO) through the assistance of Sumaylo.
“Atong gipasalamatan si og maayo si Mayor Miriam Sumaylo. Siya ang mitabang sap ag-facilitate sa pagkuha og travel authority for those in Metro Manila,” Lopez said.
The same assistance from Sumaylo will be extended to other LSIs in Metro Manila, he added.
The national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has ordered that only regional police offices such as the NCRPO in Metro Manila and Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas will be allowed to issue travel authorization to LSIs.
The deluge of LSIs and repatriated overseas Filipino workers in Bohol started this week through the orders of the national government as part of efforts to decongest Metro Manila and other urban centers such as Cebu City which are the virus’ hardest hit areas.