PH House lawmaker confirms he has COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 25, 2020   •   447

ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap

MANILA, Philippines – ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap on Wednesday confirmed he has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“It is with a heavy heart that I share to all of you that I tested positive for coronavirus,” Yap, who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, said in a statement.

Yap also admitted that he recently met with top government officials, including leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and even attended a meeting in Malacañang despite experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

The lawmaker said he took a test for COVID-19 on March 15 after he got exposed to people who may have come in contact with those who later tested positive for the respiratory illness.

Yap said that on March 10, he led a panel hearing on a bill pushing for the supplemental budget for the DOH, and that it was “business as usual” for him after that.

“Since March 10, ilang tao pa ang nakasalamuha ko kabilang na ang ilan na maaaring na-expose sa mga known positive cases of COVID-19,” he said.

The lawmaker further said that on March 21, he was called to attend a meeting in Malacañang to tackle the government’s response against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Bago tayo magpunta doon, nagtanong ako kung may resulta na ang aking test, pero wala pa daw. I attended the meeting and was careful the whole time knowing na I could potentially be a carrier of the virus,” he said.

Yap also attended the House of Representative’s special session on March 23.

“Earlier that day, bago magtungo ng Kongreso, nagtanong ako kung may resulta na ang aking test, pero wala pa rin daw. That was 8 days after my test,” he said.

He admitted that he became paranoid for his mild cough but he felt that “it was normal” for him.

“Mas nag-ingat tayo dahil wala pang resulta ang test ko. Those who know me personally know that I practice good personal hygiene. But it didn’t spare me from this virus,” he said.

When he was informed of his positive test result, Yap said he felt angry with himself for putting those around him at risk.

“Humihingi ako ng patawad at pag-unawa mula sa mga taong nakasalamuha ko,” he said.

“Wala pong kinikilalang pulitika, kapangyarihan, o kayamanan ang sakit na ito. Pantay pantay po tayong lahat. Kung gusto nating sugpuin ang pagkalat ng virus, kinakailangan na magkaisa tayo. Sama sama, kaya natin ito,” he added.

Yap also appealed to the public to remain at home, maintain proper hygiene and keep the surroundings clean.

“Hindi naging sapat na malinis lang ang katawan ko dahil kinailangan kong lumabas at makisalamuha sa tao dahil sa tungkulin ko. Sabi nila, senior citizens are the most at risk. Stop going out and stop socializing; ‘lower risk’ does not mean ‘no risk’,” he said.

“This is a minor setback for me but it will not stop me from fulfilling my duties and responsibilities. Let’s all rise from this together,” he added.

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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