Capitol awaits mayors’ decision on 75 stranded islanders in Tabaco City

The number of Catandunganons – 75 as of Friday’s count – stranded and quarantined at the Tabaco National High School (TNHS) in Tabaco City are awaiting the decision of the mayors of their respective towns on whether they could go home soon.

Last Wednesday, during the meeting of the Catanduanes Development Council (CDC), the seven local chief executives present could not agree on a common stand after Acting Governor Shirley Abundo gave them copies of the list of those stranded.

After about 35 were allowed to come home two weeks ago, the 25 remaining in Tabaco soon grew to more than 70, the acting governor said, as the city’s disaster officials could not refuse to take them in out of pity and Abundo had appealed to Tabaco not to accept any more Catandunganon returnees.

The new batch now being fed by the province includes five college students from Viga who said they had no more money for their stay in the dormitory as well as for their food and other needs.

Eight students stranded in their Legazpi City dorm were advised to stay, with the provincial government to pay for their lodging and food. Nine students from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños were also told not to go home due to the risk, although the university is reportedly insisting on ferrying them to Tabaco so they could go back to their towns here.

“What if Tabaco Mayor Krisel Lagman-Luistro finally refuses to shelter those stranded or would need TNHS for the quarantine of their own residents?” Acting Gov. Abundo said.

The majority of the 75-and-counting stranded Catandunganons are from the capital town of Virac, with only two mayors deciding on the fate of their constituents as of Friday.

Mayor Remigio Villaluna reportedly told the acting chief executive that he is allowing the lone Bagamanoc resident in the 75 stranded persons to come home while Pandan Mayor Honesto Tabligan II said he will shoulder the board and lodging of two students from his town who will not be allowed entry.

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