By Shirley Matias Pizarro
MARIVELES, BATAAN — The Freeport Authority of Bataan (FAB) has clarified earlier reports of alleged uncontrolled docking of foreign vessels, and unauthorized entry of some 300 undocumented Chinese citizens in this town to work for the GNPower Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. Co. (GMCP).
After conducting a surprise inspection at the GMPC premises, the Incident Management Team of the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (IMT-AFAB) released a statement Tuesday night that revealed only 15 Chinese individuals, all of whom were documented and coordinated by the Bureau of Immigration, who arrived from Thailand before the declaration of the general community quarantine last March 15.
The investigation, conducted with the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP), also showed that all 15 Chinese nationals were being held under quarantine at the designated area within the GMCP compound. GMCP has already allocated the second floor of its building as quarantine facility for workers who are all considered persons under monitoring (PUM) upon arrival.
At the same time, the alleged illegal presence of foreign vessels in the area was denied. The cargo vessel currently docked showed legal documents that allowed its crew to unload coal. The crew has been prohibited to get off the vessel.
FAB Chairman and Administrator Emmanuel D. Pineda nevertheless, requested the assistance of the Philippine Coast Guard “to further intensify patrolling FAB’s coastal areas” and the PNP “to have heightened presence in the areas around the GMCP facility” in order to assist them in ensuring the prevention of any illegal entry of both local and foreign nationals.
“We urge the public to be more prudent on what they post on social media. Make sure that they come from official or authorized sources to avoid circulating fake news that might result to panic among the FAB community,” he said.