MANILA – Officials of the Executive Department who together with Lawmakers who attended the special session at the House of Representatives to pass the Bill granting emergency powers to the President are reported to be now going into self-quarantine as a precaution after ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Undersecretary Jacinto V. Paras, presidential Assistant for Legislative Affairs together with Undersecretary Bayani Agabin of DOF and Undersecretary Michael Ong of the Office of the Executive Secretary were at the floor of the House of Representatives to support the passage of the Emergency Bill.
Usec Paras was there at the House to shepherd the passage of the bill while Usec Agabin and Ong were there as resource persons of the Congressmen who were pushing for the passage of the said emergency bill.
In an exclusive interview, Usec Paras said that as a preventive measure, they are now undergoing self-quarantine and so with undersecretaries Agabin and Ong as well as the other lawmakers present that day.
Congressmen who were physically present at House Plenary Hall were Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Benny Abante,, Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, Abraham Tolentino, and Eric Yap, The other lawmakers who attended the special session were Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Wilter “Sharky” Palma, Quezon City Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Quezon City Rep. Bong Suntay, Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Jr., Manila Rep. Manny Lopez, Isabela Rep. Tonypet Albano, Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Cavite Reps Boying Remulla and Francis Gerald Abaya, and Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu, Robbie Puno, Dong Gonzales.Janette Garin, and Precious Castelo, while the remaining 279 House members participated via teleconferencing during last Monday’s special session,
It was later on revealed by Congressman Eric Yap that he was positive for corona virus. Yap noted that he attended a meeting in Malacañang (March 21) and a special session at the House of Representatives (March 23) while waiting for the test results to come in. He received the positive test result on Wednesday (March 25).
After Yap’s revelation, Usec Paras said he is undergoing self quarantine after knowing that Yap was positive. Paras said nakatabi niya si Yap sa Plenary Hall during the House deliberation of the emergency bill.
Earlier, Speaker Cayetano said that he is undergoing self-quarantine as he was with Congressman Yap also during the House deliberation.
Following protocols, all the members and employees who attended the special session will go on self-quarantine,” House secretary-general Jose Luis Montales said on Thursday.
Majority Romualdez also said he would undergo self-quarantine despite not having any symptoms nor close contact with Yap during the special session.
“The most responsible thing for me to do at this moment is to undergo self-quarantine. To put on record, I have not developed any symptom of the coronavirus disease,” Romualdez said.
“I’m in the pink of health and well enough to continue performing my duties as House Majority Leader and will activate my work-from-home system,” he added.
Romualdez also asked his staff who accompanied him at the special session to take the same precautions, noting that self-quarantine helps prevent potential infection, which is a more “prudent way” of helping the government defeat Covid-19.
“Let’s continue to work for the common good of everyone by praying for the nation’s healing and world’s complete recovery from Covid-19. In these challenging times, our common goal is to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Together, we shall recover from this pandemic,” Romualdez said.
Abante has also decided to undergo self-quarantine after attending the special session on the proposal granting President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to address the Covid-19 crisis.
“While I had no personal contact with Rep. Yap and I currently feel healthy and have not developed any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19, as a precaution I will be going into self-quarantine together with members of my family to avoid potentially infecting others,” Abante said.
Abante said he has directed his staff to track down those he came into contact this week to help the Department of Health trace other potential carriers of the virus.
“While I have been consistently practicing social distancing protocols, particularly in my Church, I believe that prudence and good sense dictate that we identify all those I was in contact with so that they can be advised to take the necessary precautions,” Abante added.
Yap has apologized to the people he came into contact with these past few days.
“Humihingi ako ng patawad at pag-unawa mula sa mga taong nakasalamuha ko (I am asking for forgiveness and understanding from the people I have encountered recently) I was paranoid dahil may kaunting ubo akong naramdaman (because I had a mild cough) but I felt it was normal for me,” Yap said. (ia/PNA)