Cops trace seafarers who entered Iloilo amid border restrictions

Police and health officials visit the house of Windell Sanchez, 58, at Barangay Dumolog, Roxas City. Sanchez is one of the three seafarers who went home to Capiz from Egypt. (Photo from Roxas City PNP)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The Capiz Police Provincial Office (CPPO) confirmed that the three Capizeño seafarers who managed to enter Iloilo province were all accounted for.

Police Colonel Julio Gustilo, Capiz police chief, said it did not take long for health authorities to trace Nixon Conte, 51, of Sitio Dulunan, Villa Josefina Subd., Barangay Bato, Panay town; Christopher Quiachon, 40, of Poblacion Sur, Ivisan town; and Windell Sanchez, 58, of Barangay Dumolog, Roxas City.

“We immediately located them on the addresses they provided,” Gustilo said.

Health authorities, assisted by the local PNP, checked the three seafarers morning of March 19, 2020.

According Police Lieutenant Colonel Ricardo Jomuad, Jr., Roxas City Police Station chief, his deputy chief, Captain Cyril Punzalan and representatives from the Roxas City Health Office went to Sanchez’s house around 9:30 a.m. of Thursday.

Other persons under monitoring (PUMs) in barangays Dumolog, Gabuan, and Mongpong were also visited and told to observe strict self quarantine.

Meanwhile, the Ivisan Police Station confirmed that Quiachon was home when they visited him Thursday morning.

On the other hand, Police Captain Marvin Balmes, Panay police chief, said they went to Conte’s home around 9 a.m. Thursday.

Apparently, all three claimed they wanted to go home and tried every mode of transport to reach Capiz province.

The three seafarers boarded a Roll On-Roll Off vessel from Bacolod City and docked on Dumangas Port on March 18, despite the border restriction ordered by the Iloilo provincial government.

The Tri-Star Ro-Ro vessel managed to sail with permission from the Philippine Coast Guard in Bacolod City.

Mayor Ronaldo Golez of Dumangas earlier said that the three seafarers left Egypt, a country with positive cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and had a layover in Dubai, UAE before they entered the country through Cebu.

They managed to enter Bacolod City, travelled to Iloilo province, and reached Capiz before the 8 p.m. curfew Wednesday.

Golez tried to run after the three for quarantine but they managed to board a tricycle and boarded a Ceres Bus to Roxas City.

Gustilo said that after receiving reports about the three seafarers, he ordered police manning the quarantine control checkpoints (QCPs) to intercept them.

They were not intercepted but they headed home to the addresses they provided.

“I believed they will be strictly monitored for compliance to self quarantine guidelines,” Gustilo said.