I JUST read about the three foreigners and a Filipina on their way to the southern town of Oslob in Cebu who were intercepted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police. The four had rented a motorized boat from Panglao, Bohol.
They are now in our island because authorities in Oslob, and I’m talking about the police and the Municipal Health Office (MHO), not only allowed them to dock but also let them go because, get this, the four didn’t display any symptoms of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Sgt. Nelson Mamale, Oslob Police Station investigator, said the four admitted that they hired the motorized boat due to the lack of vessels from Panglao to Oslob.
And why is that?
Well, for starters, Bohol is under a community quarantine until Friday, March 20, 2020.
According to Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, “the quarantine was meant to better prepare Boholanos in fighting the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.” He also clarified that there was no ban on leaving the island.
Which would explain how the four managed to leave. In that respect, they did nothing wrong. They also did nothing wrong in wanting to come to Cebu. Maybe the three foreigners—two British nationals and a Pole—were flying out from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City.
Mamale was quick to point out that the four arrived in Oslob before Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia signed the executive order regulating the entry of travelers into Cebu, whether by air or sea, to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
So at least he got the memo.
Now, Lt. Roland Magdadaro, Oslob sub-station commander, wants their counterparts in Western Bohol to locate the operator of the motorized banca.
The operator didn’t violate any law. Unless, of course, he or she didn’t have a permit to operate. But that’s beside the point.
So why is Magdadaro eager to look for someone to blame? Let me remind him that the police and the MHO gave the go-ahead for the four to enter the town and then leave. So the four left their contact details with the MHO. Who’s to say they wouldn’t change their plans or they didn’t lie.
Still, that’s not the issue here.
Mamale reiterated that the four were only released after they were placed under a thermal scan and that this was approved by the town doctor and the Provincial Health Office. Never mind that they could still be positive of Covid-19 but were asymptomatic.
But the question I really want to ask is, would the four have been turned away if they were Bisdak?