The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) intercepted a boatful of Badjaos including minors trying to illegally enter the province which is still under general community quarantine (GCQ).
PCG Tagbilaran Substation commander Petty Officer First Class Paul Vincent Yu said that they intercepted the motorbanca carrying nine Badjaos, five of them minors, in waters off Tagbilaran City at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Badjaos who travelled all the way from Palawan had no authorization to enter the province while their boat was unregistered, said Yu.
“Na intercept nato ni mga 500 meters gawas sa Tagbilaran Channel…Base sa among pagsukit-sukit sa ilaha gikan sila sa Palawan, four days silang nagnabigar padung diri sa Bohol,” he said.
Authorities first fed the Badjaos who were hungry after travelling all the way from Palawan before they turned them over to the Dauis local government unit for quarantine.
The intercepted individuals were supposedly headed towards the Badjao Community in Barangay Totolan, Dauis.
According to Yu, they were anticipating the arrival of the Badjaos through information gathered from the wife of one of the persons on the intercepted boat.
“Nakadawat mi og info na naay mga undocumented na mga Badjao na gikan sa Palawan so nag-conduct mi og patrolya sa among area of responsibility,” he said, adding that they received the information just a few hours prior to their arrival.
The Badjaos, some of whom are residents of Dauis town, went to Palawan to work but they eventually ran out of food due to the pandemic, prompting them to return to Bohol.
Yu said that although they were only held in a quarantine facility they may still be charged for violating the province’s quarantine policies.
The PCG meanwhile took custody of the motorbanca which was found out to be unregistered. (A. Dodyora)