MANILA – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday said the peculiarities of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) only underscores the need for strict adherence to necessary health protocols, as well as enhanced capabilities of health facilities nationwide.
This after two beneficiaries of the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) Program reportedly tested positive for the disease a week after arriving in Leyte from the National Capital Region.
The two males were part of the first batch of 112 beneficiaries that arrived in the province on May 21.
In a statement, Go said he was assured by National Housing Authority general manager and BP2 Secretariat executive director Marcelino Escalada Jr. that all the beneficiaries complied with the “required health certification” from the local government unit (LGU) and the Department of Health (DOH) prior to their departure on May 20.
“Pero dahil rin sa kaibahan ng sakit na Covid-19, hindi natin nakikita ang kalaban. Kahit yung mga nag-negative sa test, pwedeng maging positive pagkatapos ng ilang araw (But because of the peculiarities of the novel coronavirus, we cannot ascertain the enemy. Even those who tested negative can test positive after a few days),” the chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography and BP2 proponent said.
Eastern Visayas health authorities said that the two returnees were asymptomatic of the disease when they arrived in the province.
“This is why it is important that health protocols are followed and LGUs, as well as health facilities nationwide, are able to enhance their capabilities to test, trace and treat patients with Covid-19,” Go said.
He noted that it is for this reason why Leyte was chosen by the BP2 Council to receive the first batch of beneficiaries: because of the provincial government’s readiness to support returning residents and its capability to test, detect, isolate and treat anyone suspected or later confirmed of having Covid-19.
He cited Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, who as chair of the BP2 Council said that “agencies have their designated roles under the program, and these roles include the protocols during departure and arrival in the province of destination.”
Medialdea said the returnees have been cleared by the DOH to depart NCR and, to further ensure health safety upon arrival, part of the protocols was the testing in the destination.
“In this regard, the province of Leyte has signified its capacity to do the test and handle the returnees, including quarantine facilities. Just to underscore, the Council has been careful in ensuring that returnees under the Balik Probinsya program undergo the protocols from departure to the arrival phase, whether through the member-agencies or in coordination with the LGUs,” Medialdea was quoted as saying.
It would be noted that health workers took swab samples from all the returnees upon their arrival, and specimens were sent to accredited facilities in the region.
Go reminded concerned agencies involved in the BP2 program to help fellow Filipinos who wish to relocate to their home provinces, “provided that necessary health protocols are followed and proper coordination with the receiving LGUs are conducted during the implementation.”
“Let us work together to stop the spread of this disease, and at the same time, help our countrymen recover from this crisis. Magtulungan at magbayanihan po tayo (Let’s work and cooperate with each other). As President Rodrigo Duterte said, we want to give Filipinos hope of a better life in the provinces after the Covid-19 crisis,” Go said. (PNA)