By Jerry Alcayde
CALAPAN CITY, Oriental Mindoro – The provincial government announced Saturday that sea-going vessels plying the Mindoro and Batangas route will still not be allowed to transport passengers despite the general community quarantine (GCQ) status which relaxed some economic and transport activities starting May 1.
Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito A. Dolor said that ships will only transport cargoes, fuels, food and agricultural products and other basic necessities but not persons coming from Batangas, including the route going to Puerto Galera and the nautical trips between Mindoro and other neighboring provinces of Marinduque, Romblon, Aklan, Antique and even Palawan.
City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan, meanwhile, said that vessels bound outside the province will be limited to foreigners with repatriation flights, overseas Filipino workers (OFW) with confirmed flights for their jobs abroad and residents of other provinces with complete documents from Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and concerned local government units.
Effective last May 1, the province and the other four provinces of the Mimaropa (Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region were placed under GCQ on orders of IATF-National.
Originally, Oriental Mindoro was not included in the list which will be placed under GCQ due mainly to its record of having the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases among the five provinces in the region.
But Dolor appealed to the IATF-National, in a letter dated April 25 which cited the province’s pro-active measures to combat COVID-19 as early as January this year, and emphasized that it was capable of handling the dreaded disease with the available hospitals and health facilities, both public and private, in the province.
In the same letter, the governor also requested that they be allowed to resume the construction and repairs of disaster mitigation projects due to the susceptibility of Mindoro to natural disasters.
Meanwhile, the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan, which oversees all parishes of the Catholic Church in the province said all holy masses and church gatherings will remain suspended, and that a special meeting of all priests to tackle this matter and other related concerns will be held on May 7.
The Department of Health (DOH) said that the second and third laboratory tests for the Mangyan kid from Barangay Hagan, Bongabong who tested positive for COVID-19 have already yielded negative results, as well as that on the 21 year-old male patient from Teresita, Mansalay town.
The second test for a 35 year-old patient of Balite, Calapan also produced negative result and was discharged from the hospital last Friday.