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Stranded residents not allowed to travel to Catanduanes

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines  — Local officials in Catanduanes have agreed on Saturday that they will not allow additional strandees to enter the province as it would “open the gate” to possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 contamination.

In a letter addressed to Ernie Vera, chair of Bicol Interagency Task Force (IATF), the local mayors and acting governor Shirley Abundo, said the decision was a united position against the IATF’s order in March 26 directing all local chief executives to fetch their constituents stranded in closed borders and various ports.

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“It is our united position that the order allowing the stranded passengers to be transported to Catanduanes will encourage another exodus of Catandunganons outside of the province to violate the strict mandate of the enhanced community quarantine, thereby putting at risk the fight against COVID-19,” it said.

The officials have appealed to IATF to “set aside” the said order.

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Arnold Escober, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Regional Director said the Bicol IATF will have to decide on Monday whether to grant the appeal of the provincial government of Catanduanes.

However, the appeal not to allow stranded passengers in Tabaco port to return to home to their towns would violate an existing DILG circular that requires local government units to provide assistance  (transportation and food) to local residents stranded due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, Escober added.

/MUF

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TAGS: Bicol, Catanduanes, COVID-19, stranded
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