The Palawan provincial board has approved a resolution that seeks the testing of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in their places of origin rather than upon their arrival.
It was approved on Tuesday after board member Juan Antonio Alvarez’ privilege speech on the reported COVID-19 local transmission case in Coron and formal proposal to the legislative body.
The measure, which will be sent to the national government and other concerned agencies, seeks to prevent the transmission of the dreaded coronavirus disease.
Alvarez said it is subsequent to a previous resolution that seeks the same from concerned national agencies.
He reiterated that he has no problems with LSIs and ROFs coming home. But to keep safe and the municipalities where they are going home from the COVID-19 transmission, they should be tested first before they are allowed to board their flights and boat journeys.
“Kung maalala natin [noong] nakaraan ay mayroon din tayong resolution na humihiling na sana ay ma-test muna ang ating mga kababayan doon sa kanilang place of origin bago nila pasakayin. Hindi natin tinatanggihan na umuwi sila pero sana doon pa lang ay ma-test na sila,” he said.
“Nakikita po natin ang trend na ang ating COVID-19 cases ay nanggagaling talaga sa ating mga ROF at LSI. Sa kasamaang palad nga ay nagkaroon na ng local transmission sa Coron dahil sa influx ng mga kababayan,” he said.
This week, an 82-year-old woman got infected by the disease in Coron and died Tuesday afternoon at the Culion Sanitarium and General Hospital (CSGH) where she was confined.
Dr. Alan Guintapan, municipal health officer of Coron, said she had no travel history outside Palawan.
“Tumawag sa akin ang Culion nag-expire daw kaninang (August 18) hapon. Ang total na nasa direct contact, malaking pamilya kasi nasa 22 lahat ang aming isu-swab. Ang 18 doon mismo sa kanilang compound sa bahay na ‘yon and then ‘yong 4 ‘yong anak na nasa labas na kung saan siya ang nagkarga sa kanya papunta ospital,” Guintapan told Palawan News also Tuesday in a phone call.
Alvarez said in his privilege speech that municipal health authorities are already doing contact tracing in Coron, but the theory is that the security guard son of the older woman got infected at the pier.
He reemphasized that it is only a theory and not yet an established fact.
“Although hindi pa ito confirmed, ang naging working theory ay nakuha ng anak ng pasyente sa pier ng Coron. Ibig sabihin, ‘yong anak na security guard ng pasyente ay nahawa doon sa mga dumadating na mga LSIs o ROF. Hindi ito confirmed na doon nga nakuha, but doon ngayon naglalaro [ang imbestigasyon],” Alvarez said.
Since Coron’s announcement of local transmission, neighboring towns in the Calamianes have secured their boundaries from entering and exiting residents, including businesses that have cargoes to collect from their piers and airports.