Friday Jun, 05 2020 04:49:46 AM

40 stranded NoCot residents in GenSan return home

HEALTH • 08:15 AM Sun May 17, 2020
Richelyn Gubalani
HOMEBOUND. A resident of North Cotabato who was among the 40 stranded in General Santos City since March boards an Army truck after being allowed to return home on Friday afternoon (May 15, 2020).PNA photo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – At least 40 residents from North Cotabato province who were stranded here due to the implementation of the heightened community quarantine finally returned home on Friday afternoon.

They were transported back to their respective localities through an Army truck commissioned by the provincial government of North Cotabato, head of the city disaster risk reduction and management office (CDRRMO,) Dr. Agripino Dacera Jr., said.

Dacera said the movement was facilitated by city and North Cotabato officials, in coordination with concerned government agencies.

The stranded residents gathered at the city’s oval plaza stage at about noon and were provided with meals by personnel of the CDRRMO and the City Mayor’s Office before they traveled home, he said.

“They all have medical certificates indicating that they were fit to travel and return to their respective areas,” Dacera told reporters.

Kimberly Talha, one of the stranded residents, said in an interview that she earlier came to the city to review for the criminology board exam.

She and fellow reviewees from her province were unable to return home before the region-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was implemented on March 23 by Soccsksargen’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019).

The measure resulted in the restriction of intra-provincial travels due to the lockdown or border closures imposed by the region’s four provinces and five cities.

Talha, who opted to just stay with a relative in Barangay Buayan here, said their group later reached out and sought assistance from the local government of North Cotabato regarding their situation.

When the movement restrictions were relaxed with the downgrading of the ECQ to general community quarantine last May 1, she said they were told to get medical certificates so they could travel home.

“We’re very grateful that our request to return home was granted and facilitated by our officials and agencies,” Talha said.

Aside from board exam reviewees and students, those allowed to return home included transient workers and visiting families.

Junmar Gonzales, North Cotabato population officer, said the status of their stranded residents was closely coordinated with the city government.

Gonzales added that the city helped facilitate the issuance of the medical certificates and in finalizing the travel arrangement. (PNA)

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