A TOTAL of 405 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) originally bound for the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (BaSulTa) are now housed in four isolation facilities in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, head of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG-Barmm), said the 405 LSIs were originally bound for BaSulTa but were rerouted on July 7 to Cagayan de Oro City.
Sinarimbo, who is also the Barmm spokesperson, said the Barmm Inter-Agency Task Force on Monday, July 13, confirmed that 79, including seven children, of the 405 LSIs were tested positive for coronavirus.
He added that the 79 coronavirus-positive individuals were among the 257 LSIs who received their Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results on Monday, July 13, while they are still waiting for the results of the 148 others.
Sinarimbo noted the high infection rate arose from the population, which resulted in putting all of them under quarantine.
He said there is high possibility that they have contracted with the virus since "at every stage of the travel, these people were all mixed up."
"The original plan was to process those who tested negative to ride a navy vessel which we have asked the Western Mindanao Command to provide, but we decided to quarantine all of them for 14 days regardless if they are positive or not," he added.
The Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) and Ministry of Health (MOH) are attending to the basic and essential needs of the LSIs since their arrival in Maguindanao.
The BIATF then assured the public that these LSIs followed strict protocol and were directly brought to the isolation facilities in Sultan Kudarat town.
"They were not permitted to leave the bus except when they had their profile checked and swab test at the Cotabato Sanitarium Isolation Center. After that, they went back to their respective buses," Sinarimbo assured. (SunStar Zamboanga)