Thursday, February 04, 2021

Covid 23, Lockdown and travel restriction story, Manila to Mindoro

I am reposting with permission this fb post of a friend, Dr. Tomas “Butch” Africa, former NSO Director (ie, National Statistician). Photos of Puerto Galera below, first one from Butch, he took those around 9:30am today. The second photo from my old travel post,

Butch is still in Puerto Galera and will travel back to Manila this coming Sunday. He said he will post again his travel experience. Meanwhile, enjoy this rather travel scare story.

Locally Stranded Individual Going to Puerto Galera 
Tomas “Butch” Africa
January 30, 2021

People who enter Puerto Galera (PG) can be classified as either a locally stranded individual (LSI), a tourist, or an APOR (Authorized person outside residence). For the reason that I have been in and out of PG several times a year to visit my 2 daughters who call it their second home, I fall under the classification of LSI. I would need a certificate that I took a rapid (swab) antigen test with a negative result, a travel authority, and various clearances. Let me relate to you at how the government has effectively locked down PG, and most of the economy.

1. Clearances from San Juan barangay and City Health Office.

I applied for a clearance on the 19th January from Barangay Pasadena in San Juan City. It certified that I had completed a 14-day home quarantine (10 months actually), that I was not in the Barangay’s list of contact probable, suspect and confirmed cases. The Barangay issued a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Sign and Symptom Log Form in support of this. This was presented to the San Juan City Health Office which issued a Health Certificate dated 20th January which certified that I was in their list of Completed Quarantine in the City and is currently asymptomatic (?).

2. Travel Authority and PG Barangay Certificate of Acceptance.

Then these certificates were presented to the San Juan PNP which issued a Joint Task Force COVID Shield Travel Authority to proceed to PG on the 26th using our Ford Everest with plate number XXX-XXXX, with the remark that I was ‘Returning Home’ (with a Certificate of Acceptance from the Chairman of Barangay Aninuan, PG, certifying that I am a resident and that I will undergo [only] 7 days home quarantine upon arrival because I [will] have a ‘negative’ swab test).

3. Rapid antigen test.

This had to be scheduled so that the antigen test results can be shown to the checkpoints in Calapan and PG within 24 hours of its release. Thru connections with the owner of a lab we were tested in the afternoon of Monday the 25th and were found negative of the virus.

4. On to Calapan.

So we (a party of 4, wife Cecille, daughter Atty. Michelle, myself and the driver) left San Juan City at 5 am headed for Batangas Port, with a side trip to Rosario, Batangas for Atty Michelle to check with the RTC there. At Batangas Port, we presented our documents and bought tickets for the RoRo to Calapan port. We decided to bring the car to Oriental Mindoro. The vessel Reina Justicia left Batangas at 10:17 am and arrived at Calapan at 12:47 pm. The ferry was slow; inside, social distancing was imposed and followed by the passengers.

Upon arrival, our temperatures were checked and our papers processed, for an hour (good thing there weren’t too many arrivals). There were further classifications of LSI, which determined when one can enter Oriental Mindoro, namely: LSI with own vehicle – any day; LSI to be fetched by relatives – only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (MWF); LSI to be fetched by Municipal Disaster Risk and Rehabilitation Management Office (MDRRMO) – MWF; and LSI to ride an accredited van – MWF.

Another form was filled out for Locally Stranded Individuals Bound to (sic) Oriental Mindoro and a permit was issued as LSIs with Private Vehicle, to be shown at the PG checkpoint.

5. PG, here we come.

We were met at the checkpoint where personnel were expecting us. The MDRRMO had actually called us up earlier while on the STAR Tollway to check where we were. They escorted us to PG Hospital where our temperatures and our documents were checked (again). All the coordination and advance preparation and information went to naught. We passed this check again.

In accordance with their protocols, we were asked to wait for the Barangay Aninuan chairman who was to escort us to our residence. The Chairman begged off and said that we knew where we were going; the residence was just behind the Barangay hall.

It was nearly 12 hours after we left San Juan City.

6. In Puerto Galera.

We are now on the 4th day of home quarantine; by Tuesday we can transfer to the place of my youngest daughter where our 2 grandsons are staying. We have not seen them, and have not been on the beach, for more than 10 months. The weather here has been wet and windy, but we are enjoying the curated Frenchipino (French and Filipino) meals prepared by the partner of Atty. Michelle, Chef Sebastien Chamaret (formerly based in New York and has settled in PG).

This has kept us sane so far.

If only the IATF knew the formidable bureaucratic fortress it had created against mobility and passage… PG’s main business is tourism, domestic and foreign. Obviously its economy built on hotels and restaurants has shut down.

See also:
Covid 20, CDC PH livestream #2, PNP to arrest partying people, December 17, 2020 
Covid 21, P140.5 billion vaccine budget, January 12, 2021 
Covid 22, Deaths from vax, Studies on lockdowns don't work, January 17, 2021.

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