CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Oscar Moreno said on Monday, March 16, that he allowed the passenger ship M/V St Francis Xavier of 2Go Travel in this city after it was turned away from its original destination.
Moreno said he allowed the ship to dock here for humanitarian reasons.
The M/V Francis Xavier, a roll-on, roll-off passenger ship, left the Port of Cebu Sunday, March 15, and was headed for its port of call in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.
While en route, however, it was informed by the Nasipit port authority that it cannot dock there. The town was in lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Instead, the ship arrived Monday morning in Macabalan port in this city.
Before being allowed to berth, the Philippine Coast Guard asked Moreno if he would allow the St Francis Xavier to disembark its 491 passengers in Cagayan de Oro territory.
Moreno said it was out of compassion to the passengers that he authorized the entry of St. Francis Xavier.
“If we refused to have them dock here, where will they go? They could be passengers wanting to go to their home provinces in Agusan or Misamis Oriental,” Moreno said.
Moreno added that the vessel could have residents of Gingoog City, and Misamis Oriental, for its proximity to Nasipit port.
Saint Francis Xavier sailed from Manila over the weekend with at least 900 passengers. It docked in Cebu and proceeded to sail to its next port of call, which was originally Nasipit.
“We only asked that the passengers go through a check with health authorities,” Moreno said.
He said the passengers were checked by Department of Health officials and thermal scanned before going to the Macabalan port’s waiting area.
Port authorities allowed 38 provincal buses to enter the facilty. They permitted the passengers to board these buses, sparing them from going to the Agora Bus Terminal which was 4 kilometers away from the port.
Moreno said none of the passengers had a temperature of 38 degrees at the thermal scan.
He also said that DOH representatives also advised the passengers to undergo a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period. – Rappler.com