Ten days after the pre-emptive lockdown has been implemented in Cotabato province, a number of students from the University of Southern Mindanao are stranded in Kabacan.
Some of the students who were not able to go home for various reasons are from Pagadian City, Davao de Oro, Cotabato City, Lebak, Sultan Kudarat, Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, Banga, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Parang, Tampakan, Lanao del Sur, Upi, Magpet, Digos City, and Lambayong among others.
USM through the initiative of the MIT-USM Alumni Association, University Student Government, and Office of Student Affairs extended a quick humanitarian response to the students residing in off-campus boarding houses and dormitories. Through the USM student tracker of OSA led by Engr. Willie Jones Saliling, USM was able to identify the students who needed assistance.
In-kind donations were distributed to students beginning on March 20, 2020. Students from USM Kidapawan City Campus were also given food assistance.
The province of Cotabato was placed under pre-emptive lockdown after Governor Nancy Catamco signed EO No. 21 on March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has since affected a great number of people.
Kabacan, as announced by its Unlad Kabacan Facebook page, has 65 persons under monitoring (PUM), 4 persons under investigation (PUI), and 74 cleared of monitoring as of 12 noon yesterday, March 26, 2020.
The USM Administration led by President Dr. Francsico Gil Garcia has already ordered the closure of the main gate of the campus to limit the movement inside the campus.
On a Facebook post, Alumni Regent Prof. Yvonne V. Saliling has called on other USM stakeholders and alumni who wish to extend their help to the stranded USM students. The USM Alumni House is open to receive in-kind donations.