Maguindanao welcomes returning residents but prepares for worst-case scenarios

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) –  As the number of returning residents continues to rise, the provincial government of Maguindanao has prepared for worst case-scenarios: it has started using contact-tracing apps, established isolation facilities in every town and has also prepared a four-hectare cemetery for COVID-19 fatalities.

“All returning local stranded individuals (LSIs) wanting to be with their loved ones at home are most welcome,” said the governor of Maguindanao, Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu.  “But our alert level is up to prevent local transmission,” she added.

Health protocols are strictly observed at the airport in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, as returning residents are welcomed by Inter-Agency Task Force members wearing personal protective equipment. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

She said lessons have been learned from the return of students who were stranded in Cebu. One of the students tested positive of COVID-19. Eleven other students in the same trip back home – on a boat from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro and a bus from Cagayan de Oro to Maguindanao – also tested positive.

Mangudadatu said isolation facilities in every town in Maguindanao are almost complete for those who will avail of the “Hatid Probinsya” program, earlier referred to by the LGU as “Balik Probinsya.”

Members of receiving personnel from the Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Hospital welcome Maguindanaoans from Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato and General Santos cities, wearing personal protective equipment.

The provincial government has also prepared a four-hectare lot not far from the provincial hospital in Datu Hofer town, to be the final resting place for COVID-19 fatalities.

Since the Manila-Cotabato air travel has resumed, the provincial governemtn has also been busy welcoming back Maguindanaoans, placing them under 14-day quarantine before allowing them to be with their loved ones.

“Contact-tracing is important to prevent outbreak of local transmission of the virus,” the governor said.  (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)