Zambo Sur exec welcomes Mega Manila ECQ as it halts influx of stranded persons
PAGADIAN CITY—An official of Zamboanga del Sur in charge of stranded persons returning to their hometowns in the province said the two-week return of Mega Manila to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) gave him and others on the frontline of the fight against pandemic a breather.
The MECQ reinstated in Mega Manila has given a pause to the return of stranded persons to the province as flights had been suspended from Aug. 4 to Aug. 18.
Pagadian City, the province’s capital, hosts two flights from Manila three times a week, bringing in at least a hundred passengers who are either individuals stranded in Manila, where coronavirus transmission had gone out of control, or overseas workers who lost their jobs abroad.
At least half of the returnees are not from the province, said provincial tourism officer Jihan Bana, who also manages the reception of returnees.
Bana said returnees to other provinces who arrive in Pagadian’s airport, if not fetched on time by their local governments, are brought to the borders so they can travel home.
He said workers for the program, called Balik Probinsiya or Back to the Province, “can now take a rest from their demanding task.”
Returnees from the Visayas are what’s left to be attended to by officials and those on the frontline of the pandemic fight.
Gov. Victor Yu has ordered the provincial COVID-19 task force to strengthen border controls as returnees to Zamboanga del Sur may also come from other airports and seaports and Mindanao, then travel overland to the province.
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