22 Northern, Eastern Samar residents stranded in Bicol finally return home
CATARMAN, Northern Samar – At least 22 persons from Northern and Eastern Samar were able to return to their respective hometowns after weeks of being stranded in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon in Bicol region due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among them was a 38-year-old Indian national, who along with his wife and their three-year-old son, arrived in Barangay Tagas in Daraga, Albay on March 17, just a day after President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of calamity in the Philippines and placed Luzon under ECQ.
The family was traveling back to Catarman after they visited a friend in Manila but they were stopped at the border checkpoint in Daraga, Albay. Their medical certificate issued by the Albay Municipal Health Officer showed that the family underwent home quarantine in Daraga from April 9 until April 22, 2020.
On April 24, they contacted the Catarman Inter-Agency Task Force – Incident Management Team and sought for help to be able to return to their residence in Barangay Dalakit, Catarman. After verifying with barangay officials in Dalakit, incident commander Dr. Myrna Trongcoso issued their Permit to Travel, allowing them to return to Catarman.
Emerald Guevara of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer of Catarman made further coordination with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol Region, the MDRRMO in Albay and the Philippine Coast Guard in Bicol for the family to be allowed passage from Matnog to Allen seaport in Northern Samar.
After securing the necessary documents, the family was able to leave Albay at noontime of April 26, Sunday and arrived in Catarman around 5 a.m. on Monday, April 27. They were made to undergo another 14-day home quarantine in their residence under close monitoring by their Barangay Health Emergency Team (BHERT).
Another group of workers were caught up in Camarines Sur while attempting to go home to Northern Samar on April 19, after the restaurants they were working at in Manila have reportedly closed.
That same day the group- which includes three residents of Barangay Cervantes and barangay Calachuchi in Catarman and 2 from barangay Bagasbas in Mondragon – contacted the Catarman Inter-Agency Task Force. The private vehicle that they boarded from Manila only brought them to Camarines Sur.
The Catarman Task Force coordinated with the IATF in Camarines Sur which then allowed the group to proceed with their travel until they reached barangay Pilar in Sorsogon. Authorities in Sorsogon put the group under community quarantine for 6 days while coordination with the Catarman Task Force was underway.
On Sunday evening, the group left Albay and arrived at the Allen Port past midnight. Guevara and her team at the IMT operations section fetched the group and turned them over to their respective barangay centers aboard the Turbanada van. They will continue with their community quarantine for 8 more days.
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