BARMM scrambles to help residents sent to Cagayan de Oro from Manila
More than 400 BARMM residents have been staying at a gymnasium in Cagayan de Oro City.
via The STAR/John Unson
BARMM scrambles to help residents sent to Cagayan de Oro from Manila
John Unson (Philstar.com) - July 9, 2020 - 2:31pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Officials are scrambling to usher home 414 residents of the Bangsamoro region ferried by boat from Manila to Cagayan de Oro City so far from their provinces.

The locally-stranded individuals, 301 of them from Basilan, have been staying since Wednesday at a public gymnasium in Cagayan de Oro City.

They have initially been supplied with food and water by the provincial governments of Lanao del Sur and Basilan, the office of Rep. Mujiv Hataman (Basilan) and the Bangsamoro government’s Rapid Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence, or READI contingent.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, who is local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Thursday 34 of the 414 LSIs are bound for Tawi-Tawi while 79 others are returning to Sulu.

Sinarimbo, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro government, said the BARMM leadership was not informed by agencies in Metro Manila about the transport to Cagayan de Oro City of the LSIs.

“I cannot understand why we were not notified ahead of time, or why these LSIs bound for the island provinces would have to be brought to CDO instead of Zamboanga,” Sinarimbo said.

Zamboanga City is 10 hours away

Zamboanga City, more than 10 hours away via overland travel from Cagayan de Oro City, is the most convenient entry route to Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, either by sea or air conveyances, owing to its short distance to the three island provinces.

There are large cargo and passenger vessels plying the Manila-Zamboanga route.

Planners in BARMM’s READI outfit are now discussing possible schemes on how to facilitate the return of the 414 SLIs to the geographically-scattered Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi provinces within the next 24 hours.

Among the options reportedly being considered is to transport them to Zamboanga City by boat via the Maguindanao Port in Parang town near Cotabato City, or by land via the Pagadian-Zamboanga arterial route.

Representatives of Governors Mamintal Adiong, Jr. and Jim Salliman of Lanao del Sur and Basilan, respectively, and a team dispatched by Rep. Hatamanhave been extending relief support since Wednesday to the LSIs.

Sinarimbo said they will see to it that all of the 414 LSIs are screened for COVID-19 before they return to their respective provinces. 

CAGAYAN DE ORO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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