ZAMBOANGA CITY — The 121 returning Filipino migrants have completed the 21-day quarantine for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in Sibakil Island, Lantawan, Basilan province, officials said Tuesday.
The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) on Monday facilitated the transport of 87 migrants from this city from Sibakil Island, said Maj. Arvin John Encinas, Westmincom spokesperson.
Encinas said the remaining 34 persons who are from Basilan province returned to their respective homes after completion of the quarantine period.
Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Westmincom, said 10 of the 87 migrants are Zamboangueños and were fetched by their respective barangay officials upon arrival at the local port.
“We are happy to bring them back to Zamboanga safely and Covid-free,” Sobejana said.
One of the migrants who asked not to be named expressed her gratitude to the soldiers and the residents who supported them during their stay in Sibakil Island.
“The soldiers were so kind, they didn’t leave us. No matter how hard, they didn’t leave us. Thank you very much. Despite our being a little stubborn, you didn’t leave us. We salute you. Thank you very much to all of you,” she said.
The other returning Filipino migrants are from the following areas: Zamboanga del Norte, 25; 16 from Zamboanga del Sur; nine from Zamboanga Sibugay; six from Misamis Occidental; one from Lanao del Norte; two from Cagayan de Oro; eight from Tawi-Tawi; four from Davao City; one from General Santos City; one from Leyte; one from Bulacan; one in Quezon City; one in Sultan Kudarat, and one from Bohol.
The migrants are temporarily housed at the center for displaced persons of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office in this city while waiting for the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine.
“They have stayed in the (Sibakil) island for three weeks and remained to be asymptomatic,” said Dr. Abdulhalik Kasim, assistant secretary of the Ministry of Health in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“All of them are fine and are safe to return back to their respective hometown,” Kasim said.
The Westmincom, in coordination with the Department of Health, built the facility to house the returning Filipino migrants as they were denied entry into the mainland Basilan since quarantine is already in effect when they arrived last March 16 from Malaysia on board two wooden-hulled vessels.