‘No hard feelings’: Rep. Yap accepts RITM apology over COVID-19 report error

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020   •   411

MANILA, Philippines – ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap on Friday said he accepts the apology of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) over its erroneous report on his novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test.

In a statement, Yap admitted that the last 48 hours was very hard for him and to everyone around him after he was informed of his COVID-19 test results.

“Hindi naging madali ito pero buong puso kong tinatanggap ang apology ng DOH-RITM,” he said.

Yap on Wednesday (March 25), said he tested positive for the virus. He took the test on March 15 after he experienced mild cough following exposure to people who may have come in contact with those who were later found infected with the coronavirus.

But on Friday, the RITM said that the party-list solon remains negative of the virus and apologized for the ‘clerical oversight’.

The RITM said the incident was only discovered late Thursday night by its Molecular Biology Laboratory, and that the person responsible for the ‘isolated’ encoding error is already being dealt with administratively.

Yap said no less than RITM Director Dr. Celia Carlos herself called him to explain about the clerical error.

He also said that he “will not harbor hard feelings” towards anybody and that the incident should not be taken against the RITM.

“Naiintindihan ko, they are the busiest medical facility in the country right now. It’s not an excuse pero normal na nagkakaroon ng pagkakamali sa dami at sa pressure na tinatanggap ng RITM ngayon,” he said.

“This is just a clerical error and should not be taken against RITM, hindi sila nagkamali ng pagprocess ng samples ko, hindi sila nagkamali sa basa ng results ko,” he added.

The solon also said that the news is not a cause for celebration for him as millions of Filipinos remain affected by the public health crisis.

“I thank God for this news but let us not keep our guards down,” he said as he reiterated his call for Filipinos to help fight the virus by following restrictions and staying at home.

Metro Manila to likely transition to GCQ after May 31 —Palace

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

Metro Manila has a possibility to transition to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) after May 31, according to the Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is a chance that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions might ease in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) held a meeting on Wednesday (May 27) to determine if the MECQ should continue after May 31.

“Chances are we will, in fact, be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila, according to the chief implementer and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] Secretary,” Roque said in a statement.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is also recommending to the IATF to put the National Capital Region under GCQ.

Once Metro Manila transitioned to GCQ, Roque said public transportation will resume operations but will have limited capacity.

He also appealed to the private and public sectors to finalize their work scheme where 50% will resume in worksites and 50% will work from home.

“We are appealing to both private and public sectors to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” he said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Mandaluyong City beefs up rapid testing after COVID-19 infects 277 tricycle drivers

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Mandaluyong City government cannot decide yet on whether or not to allow tricycle drivers to operate come June 1.

This, after 277 of the 3,115 tricycle drivers who underwent rapid testing were confirmed positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Mandaluyong City Health Office is continuously conducting rapid tests among 7,000 tricycle drivers in the city to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers.

Those who were infected are now under isolation in the city’s quarantine facility while waiting for the confirmatory tests using the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“Nagko contact tracing pa ho kami kasi scattered po ito eh. Hindi po ito kasi by area. So mina-map out pa po namin kung saan sila marami (We are doing contact tracing because these are scattered. It is not just in one area. So we are mapping out where the most number of cases are),” said Dr. Alexander Sta, Maria of the city health office.

The LGU, meanwhile, clarified that the increase in the number of confirmed cases in the city is a result of the mass testing which allowed for the immediate tracking of COVID-19 probable patients and their prompt isolation to curb further spread.

“This is coordinated kasi meron po tayong in-charge sa buong TODA. Then before po ito ni-launch, na-meeting po ang lahat ng presidente ng kanilang mga TODA so binigyan po sila ng schedule (This is a coordinated effort. There is someone in charge of the whole TODA. Before this was launched, we held a meeting with their respective presidents and all of them were given a schedule),” Sta. Maria added.

The city government will test jeepney drivers next once the tests among tricycle drivers is completed. MNP (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

House panel approves P1.5-T fund to create jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 28, 2020

The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.

The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.

The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.

Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020. –AAC

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