By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – At least 33 passengers, including a pregnant woman and a one-year old child, of a Philtranco bus which left Pasay City on March 16 are now under quarantine after its driver tried to enter Davao de Oro Saturday night.
The Davao de Oro Emergency Operation Center (DDO EOC) bared that the passengers were already taken to the local government’s Farm Training Center in the town Monkayo for isolation.
The DDO EOC report released by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) 11 on Tuesday, stated that the bus left Pasay City on March 16, with 27 passengers, including the driver and crew.
It said 10 other passengers boarded the bus in Sogod Leyte after it was given medical clearance by the Leyte coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Task Force.
The report also said that two passengers unloaded in Bayugan City, and another three in San Francisco, both in the province of Agusan del Sur.
The bus reached the checkpoint in Monkayo around 10 p.m. of March 21, but was held due to the restriction stipulated in Order No. 2020-001-A of the Davao Region COVID-19 Task Force (RTF11-COVID19), which stated that no person or vehicle should be allowed to enter the region except cargo vehicles with driver but no assistants or passengers on March 19 up to April 1.
Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy said in a statement, the bus and its passengers were supposed to be barred from entering the region.
But, after assessing the situation, he allowed the passengers to instead be put in quarantine at the center for 14 days.
“This will only be allowed once; again only once, and no more than that; because as a father, I could not bare to see an innocent one-year old child travel back to their origin at this time of distress,” Governor Uy stressed.
The chief executive said that the provincial and municipal government units will provide all the needs of the passengers, including that for the infant.
The municipal government of Monkayo distributed dinner and breakfast to the passengers, while a team from Kusina ng Kalinga will be deployed to the facility to take care of their meals for the 14 days.
DDO EOC and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Antonio Ybiernas Jr. also said that Monkayo Municpal Government gave out hygiene kits, pillows and blankets.
“We also asked the assistance of the Bureau of Fire and Protection for the water supply, and the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Civil Security Unit for security,” he said.
Ybiernas also noted that tents from the Red Cross are also being used to house the passengers.
“All female passengers utilize the rooms in the center, while the couples and the male passengers are being billeted in the tents,” he said.
Ybiernas said that all of these passengers will be treated as persons under monitoring (PUM), while the driver and a passenger, who have cough will be considered as persons under investigation (PUIs).
“The two PUIs with no co-morbidities are placed in separate rooms in the same training center,” he said.
He said there will be regular health assessment on the passengers to ensure their condition, and an ambulance would be on standby should it be needed.
The bus was disinfected, so with the passengers’ luggage before being brought to their rooms.
The health officer also oriented the passengers and the workers of the training center on the necessary and relevant protocols to follow, including social distancing, while they are under quarantine.