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WestMinCom proposes quarantine area for Filipino returnees

The military proposed building on Sibakel Island a quarantine area for 200 Filipino passengers stuck on vessels that were refused entry in western Mindanao.

            The inspection team of Western Mindanao Command dropped round and checked on the conditions of Sibakel Island in basilan on March 19.  Col. Leonardo Peña, the chief of WestMinCom’s unified command staff, led security forces and representatives of lead agencies during the inspection.

            Sibakel Island is an isolated area with no existing infrastructure nor water source, but the island can house 200 persons.  

            “The military’s intervention was brought about by reports of Filipinos returning from Malaysia. Under the presidential proclamation, we have to accept them, but they have to undergo quarantine procedures,” said WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana. “That is why we organized a team that did the reconnaissance and inspection, and we decided that Sibakel is the most conducive.”

            Soldiers account at least 10 children on the stranded vessels. The passengers will have to undergo medical screenings to determine whether they are persons under monitoring or investigation.

            The military intends to install 100 tents on the island, fifty of which will be transported here today. The Department of Health IX, meanwhile, said it will deliberate on the military’s proposal as resources will have to be rationalized.

            “Coronavirus Disease-19 is an “ILLNESS” that starts with ’I’. We have to change the ‘I’ to ‘We’ to make it “WELNESS.” Let us continue to work together towards wellness to defeat the illness and make things happen,” said Lt. Gen. Sobejana.

The commander chaired the meeting with line agencies including DOH Region IX Director Emilia Monicimpo, DPWH IX Director Cuyamombao D. Dia and OCD Region IX Director Manuel Luis Ochotorena in Camp Navarro on March 19. Meanwhile, the body has set another meeting to discuss the quarantine setup on March 20.

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