Westmincom backs Sulu decision to close borders

Amid the threats by the new strain of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) has deployed troops to guard the borders in the southernmost part of the country.

“We are maximizing our capabilities to keep the contagion offshore,” Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr., commander of Westmincom, said Saturday.

Vinluan said with the new strain of Covid-19 reportedly detected in Sabah, the provincial government of Sulu is set to implement a temporary lockdown from January 4 to 17 to prevent the entry of civilians coming from Sabah.

“The command supports the decision of the provincial government of Sulu, and we already deployed additional troops to secure the border and to disallow entry of passenger’s vessels from Sabah,” Vinluan said.

People usually travel from Sabah to the southern part of the country, including the province of Sulu–and vice-versa–aboard wooden-hulled vessels. Travelers include traders who buy goods, mostly foodstuffs, in Sabah.

“The vessels of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao will conduct patrol in the maritime borders of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and the Zamboanga Peninsula to prevent the entry of inflicted individuals to our area of operation,” Vinluan added. 

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