By Warren Elijah Valdez
DAVAO CITY – A total of 115 stranded residents of Davao Oriental were already rescued by the province’s Oplan Sundo program, the provincial government said on Thursday, May 7.
In a statement, the provincial government said this batch of stranded Davao Oriental residents were among the 3,000 who chose to avail of the program, based on the qualifications it set.
Of the 115, the provincial government bared that 95 were considered persons under monitoring (PUMs), while 12 persons were coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) suspects.
It can be noted that since last week, the province had already started risk testing using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test of all persons being fetched by Oplan Sundo.
“All of them have been tested by swabbing through RT-PCR, which is the gold standard test wherein we can say if a person is positive to the virus or not,” Provincial Task Force on COVID19 Action Officer Dr. Reden Bersaldo said.
Meanwhile, provincial government said it will still not allow the entry of private vehicles from outside the province for the duration of the general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Only those rescued by the Oplan Sundo, as well as individuals considered as front liners, will be allowed entry into the province,” he said.
He also said that even with Davao City’s move permitting the entry of private vehicles from areas outside by easing its lockdown restrictions this May 8, the re-entry of these vehicles to the province of Davao Oriental will not be permitted.
Davao City, being one of the considered “hotspots” for having the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Davao region, has recently decided to ease the lockdown starting May 8 to allow private vehicles to pick up their stranded relatives in the city within a 12-hour period.
The PTF action officer also said that even if they want everyone to be fetched, “screening of all these residents is still not feasible.”
“There’s a huge chance that these people aboard private vehicles will not be properly screened. They might also evade surveillance and go straight to their homes in the communities, thus, exposing the people in the community,” he added.
Bersaldo also stressed that only through the Oplan Sundo can the province be assured that proper health protocols are being practiced since all individuals who were picked up by the provincial government’s program are properly accounted for the necessary health protocols upon entering the province.