Friday, November 14, 2014

What, no Wi-Fi? sigh peacekeepers on Day One at quarantine island

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 13): What, no Wi-Fi? sigh peacekeepers on Day One at quarantine island
The Filipino peacekeepers from Liberia landed on their temporary home on Caballo Island Thursday morning for a 21-day quarantine as a precaution against Ebola virus, an official said.
Lieutenant Commander Marineth Domingo, Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office Chief, said that all 108 personnel of the Philippine Liberia contingent reached the island at the mouth of Manila Bay at 7:20 a.m.

She added that the peacekeepers were onboard BRP Dagupan City, the naval ship that transported them from Sangley Point in Cavite.

The peacekeepers arrived on the island in three batches with two landing crafts for vehicle and personnel of BRP Dagupan City transporting them from the ship to the island at around 6 a.m.

“The Philippine Navy assures the public, especially the peacekeepers and their families, that we will be ready to serve and secure them, and ensure their safety in the island,” Domingo said. “They are all in high spirit and are all well aware of what to expect.”

Caballo Island also houses Navy personnel in its perimeter.

Also, the Armed Forces of the Philippines emphasized the no-fly and no-sail zone is enforced in the area surrounding the island.

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, AFP Public Affairs Office Chief, said the flight and sail restriction order has been up long before the arrival of the peacekeepers as Caballo Island is a Navy encampment.

Domingo, though, added the no-flight order is only applicable to low-flying aircraft and commercial planes are free to fly over the island.


In case of any probable sickness, Cabunoc said that military doctors are included in the support group of the peacekeepers and the health professionals would be the first responders if any of the peacekeepers fell ill.

He said that the quarantine area has an isolation room wherein a soldier who becomes sick would be housed and treated.

“If a soldier feels not that good, he should immediately consult the doctor,” Cabunoc said.

Once probable symptom of the Ebola virus is observed, Cabunoc said an air ambulance would pick up the soldier and bring him to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Hitting the sack, hitting a snag

Upon the arrival of the peacekeepers, they discovered something that they wanted in the paradise island was sorely missing: Wi-Fi signal.

A peacekeeper talking to Cabunoc said that when they arrived they could not connect to the Wi-Fi, but phone signals on both the Philippines’ largest providers are running perfectly.

“When they arrived, they immediately called their families to tell them on how they are,” Cabunoc said.

Right after talking to the families, the peacekeepers went to bed in their air-conditioned quarters to make up for lost sleep during their travel from Liberia.

Cabunoc added that the peacekeepers would still have a schedule of activities during their 21-day stay in Caballo.

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