By Aira Genesa Magdayao
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — A total of 180 local fishermen who were stranded in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro since March returned to the city earlier this week.
They are housed in a containment facility in Barangay Irawan. Coast Guard District Palawan commander Commodore Allan Corpuz and Water Cluster head under the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), said in a statement Wednesday, May 7, that the local fishers arrived the late afternoon of May 4 aboard 31 fishing vessels.
Puerto Princesa City government also prepared a temporary treatment and monitoring facility for the fishermen. Corpuz said that they started fishing activity in October last year and were not able to go back home due to the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
“They have a clearance to leave Mindoro and have already undergone a 14-day quarantine. Upon their arrival, with health protocols strictly implemented, we will bring all of them to the facility to undergo another 14-day quarantine,” Corpuz said.
Dr. Dean Palanca of City Health Office explained to purok officials and barangay officials of Irawan that the stranded fisherfolk will be monitored for two weeks before transferring to the facility. The decision was made after the public consultation with barangay Irawan residents on Saturday.
Palanca said these fishermen are residents of Puerto Princesa and were not able to go back in the city due to ECQ. “They were not able to go back to the city because they were at sea during the announcement to place the entire Luzon in lockdown. Based on the information, they were already two months at sea,” he added.
Palanca said that while the city is not using the agricultural trading center in barangay Irawan, the CHO will use it as a quarantine facility for two weeks to monitor the fisherfolks. He also said that the security of the area will be handled by five members of Philippine National Police (PNP) and three CHO medical team members.