DOH appeals to LGUs to accept China repatriates: ‘Mga kababayan naman natin ito’

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2020 06:04 PM

Employees attach the 30th SEA Games flag at the “Athlete’s Village” inside the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac on Nov. 21, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Health on Friday appealed to the local government units to allow repatriated Filipinos from Hubei, China to stay in assigned quarantine sites, as it allayed fears that the virus will easily spread.

“Mga kababayan naman natin itong uuwi. Hahanapan naman natin sila ng lugar na safe, na malayo sa komunidad,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo during a press conference.

“We will appeal naman sa puso’t damdamin nila (LGUs) na i-welcome itong mga kababayan natin dahil sisiguraduhin ng lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno na hindi malalagay sa panganib yung kanilang mga mamamayan,” he added.

(Those who will go home are our fellowmen. We’ll find a safe place for them that will be far from the community. We’ll appeal to the hearts and emotions of our LGUs to welcome our fellow Filipinos because our government agencies will ensure that the rest of the population won’t be in danger.)

Earlier in the day, Capas, Tarlac Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan appealed to the health department to find another place to house some 40 repatriated Filipino workers.

Capas, Tarlac houses The Athletes' Village, where the repatriates will be quarantined for 14 days.

Domingo said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III already reached out to Catacutan and communicated that "all the agencies of government are going to do everything possible to make sure that all OFWs who are coming in will not come in contact to the community.”

Domingo said the Inter-agency Task Force led by the DOH will work together to talk to the LGU. “Hindi naman pwedeng lahat ng LGU aayaw,” he said.

(We can’t have all LGUs refusing.)

The health official also explained that only those without symptoms will be allowed to board the plane going to the Philippines. Those who are sick will have to be left behind in China to be admitted to a hospital.

“We’ll have DOH personnel on the flight to monitor if anyone will develop symptoms. And this flight will only take a few hours,” he said.

“As soon as they arrive, we’ll have the Bureau of Quarantine escort them,” he added. “Those who are sick or are not feeling well will be brought to the hospital.”

“Ang ilalagay lang natin sa quarantine facility yung malulusog at walang pinapakitang sintomas,” he clarified.

(Those who will be brought to the quarantine facility are those who are healthy and those who do not show symptoms.)

As of Friday, more than 600 people have died from the new strain of coronavirus while more than 30,000 have been infected. Most of the patients are from China.

In the Philippines, there are only 3 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus as of Friday.