Photo shows the 206 locally stranded individuals who left for Basilan from Maguindanao's Polloc Port on July 31, 2020.
Philstar.com/John Unson
206 more stranded residents return to Basilan via Maguindanao
John Unson (Philstar.com) - August 1, 2020 - 11:35am

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The Eid’l Adha feast on Friday could be most meaningful to 260 Basilan residents who then returned to their island province after three weeks of quarantine in Maguindanao province.

The Eid’l Adha, or the Islamic feast of sacrifice, is an important religious holiday among Muslims throughout the world.

The 260 locally stranded individuals were among 406 Bangsamoro residents mistakenly ferried last month from Metro Manila to Cagayan de Oro City, instead of Zamboanga City, which is the point of entry to their southern island provinces.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, local government minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said Saturday they are thankful to local and foreign benefactors that helped facilitate the return via a commercial vessel to Basilan of the 260 LSIs from the Polloc Port in Parang, Maguindanao.

Agencies of the United Nations and the International Office for Migration helped usher the 260 LSIs to Basilan via sea conveyance.

Sinarimbo said BARMM's health and social welfare ministries had key roles in providing them relief and other humanitarian interventions.

From Cagayan de Oro City, the 406 LSIs were first tested for coronavirus infection and, subsequently, confined for three weeks at BARMM’s newly-built P21 million worth COVID-19 isolation center in the compound of the Sanitarium Hospital in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

A total of 120 from among the 406 LSIs from Metro Manila returning to BARMM’s Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi island provinces tested positive to COVID-19.

BARMM officials said they recovered through the efforts of the Sanitarium Hospital personnel led by physician Ibrahim Pangato, employees of the Bangsamoro health ministry and the region's Emergency Action on Disaster Incidence, or READI contingent, under Sinarimbo’s office.

The 260 LSIs bound for Basilan departed Friday, as Muslims in the country and elsewhere in the world celebrated the Eid’l Adha. 

A group of 50 LSIs from those quarantined in Sultan Kudarat town were returned to Basilan three days before through the efforts of Sinarimbo and Lt.Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

Sinarimbo said 95 more LSIs bound for Sulu and Tawi-Tawi shall be ferried to the two island provinces on August 2. 

2019 N-COV NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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