Crew members detained as they leave cargo ship to buy food in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 7 April) – Five crew members of a cargo ship who disembarked to buy food here were arrested by authorities for allegedly violating protocols of the community quarantine.

The five crew members of M/V King Evaristo arrested by Cagayan de Oro police. Photo courtesy of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office

Major Ivan Viñas, Cagayan de Oro City Police Office spokesperson, said the five crewmembers of cargo ship M/V King Evaristo were immediately turned over to the Philippine Coast Guard.

During the investigation, Viñas said the crew members told them their food have ran out since their ship arrived in Cagayan de Oro and anchored at the Macajalar Bay last April 1.

“They were hungry already so they decided to use one of their lifeboats to buy food ashore,” Viñas said.

He said unfortunately for the crew, alert residents of Barangay Lapasan saw what they did and alerted the police.

Viñas said policemen and barangay tanods were already waiting for the crew at the Lapasan Coastal Road where they landed.

Cagayan de Oro is on heightened alert after Mayor Oscar Moreno placed the city under community quarantine on March 19 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Moreno’s Executive Order No. 049-2020, however, mentioned that “the movement of all types of vehicles of cargoes within, to and from Cagayan de Oro City shall be unhampered.” It added that vehicles and their personnel involved in cargo handling, including those in airports and seaports, “shall be permitted to pass thru control points upon presentation of appropriate vehicles pass.”

One of the crew members during investigation. Photo courtesy of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office

Viñas said if only the crew contacted the Coast Guard by radio, one of them could have been allowed to disembark to do the marketing.

He said the Philippine Coast Guard has summoned the ship captain, Ernesto Culanag, for questioning.

The arrested crewmembers were identified as Ivem Stephen Verde Vigo, a resident of Roxas, Capiz; Madison Santos, of Pampanga; John Harold Fabilio and Raniel Gala Alvaro, both of Caloocan City; and Rexfield Llorico, of Capiz.

The interisland cargo ship came from Siargao Island and was waiting for a shipment of cement which it would deliver to Surigao City. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)