BARMM tracks down Filipino tabligh delegates to Malaysia for COVID-19 monitoring

The Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 is tracking down the Filipino-Muslims who participated in an Islamic preachers (tabligh) gathering recently held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This was following the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos’ (NCMF) announcement that 215 Filipinos attended the religious gathering. The said gathering was reported to be linked to the sudden spike of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.

The gathering, attended by over 16,000 people, was held from February 27 – March 1, in Kuala Lumpur’s Jamek Sri Petalling Mosque.

“We already have some names,” Bangsamoro IATF Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Asnin Pendatun confirmed in a press conference on Wednesday, March 18, held here.

He said the other participants submitted themselves and are practicing self-quarantine.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan noted that they “do not have a specific figure of the percentage of how many are and not from BARMM.”

He also stated that it is not clear whether all the participants from the Philippines were in attendance at the said gathering.

“Malaking challenge ito dahil karamihan ay ayaw aminin na sila ay galing sa Malaysia, at iniisip nila na kapag na-identify sila ay magkakaroon sila ng social stigma,” he said.

The BARMM IATF has been in contact with the NCMF as well as the Government of Malaysia for the names of the participants. The task force also asked those who submitted themselves to provide the names of other participants they know.

“Inabisuhan na natin ang ating mga provincial health officers from different provinces under BARMM na hanapin ang address nitong mga kapatid nating ito at alamin ang status nila kung sila ay asymptomatic or not,” Dipatuan stated.

“Kasalukuyan nating ginagawa itong [paghanap sa kanila], pero wala pa tayong maiibigay na specific number,” he added.

In the case of a male patient who was admitted in Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City, the patient died as a Person Under Investigation (PUI), according to Dipatuan.

He said the results arrived earlier today, cofirming the patient to have had COVID-19.

While the said patient had a travel history in Malaysia, it was inconclusive whether he attended the religous gathering or went for personal business.

This was according to Parliament Member Zia Alonto Adiong, who also serves as the spokesperson of Lanao del Sur Provincial Anti-COVID-19 Task Force.

Meanwhile, Minister Dipatuan reported that the fatality case in Region 10, patient 40 (PH40), was indeed from Lanao del Sur.

However, the patient transferred to Metro Manila after the Marawi siege and was reportedly visiting his hometown.

After arriving from the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, he was admitted to Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City before being referred to Northern Mindanao Medical Center.

Adiong said PH40 attended the religious gathering in Malaysia.

As of March 18, reports from the Ministry of Health shows there is a total of 996 Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) and 43 Persons Under Investigation (PUI) in the entire Bangsamoro region. (Bureau of Public Information)

Region-wide quarantine to be imposed in Davao

A region-wide quarantine will be imposed in the Davao Region starting midnight of March 19.

In a meeting Tuesday, March 17, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte was elected as head of the Regional Covid Task Force with DOH 11 regional director Annabelle Yumang as the vice chair along with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Mayor Duterte proposed for the suspension of all international air travels until after public health emergency is lifted. She also proposed for the suspension of all land, sea, and air travels for 14 days until a health system that is the same in all LGUs is put in place.

Mayor Duterte proposed the quarantine lockdown all over the region starting midnight of March 19. People may still exit but they can no longer enter Davao Region once the lockdown starts.

The regional quarantine mandates for everyone to stay in their homes and will only be allowed to go out if they would work, buy food or medicines, go to the hospital or take out garbage.

The local government units are also advised to create an economic impact plan for the private sector.

The public is also required to procure services and goods online from local suppliers including meetings and bank transactions.

Public transportation is still allowed during the regional lockdown including all cargo deliveries within Davao Region.

Mayor Duterte’s proposal was unanimously approved by the members of the Regional Covid Task Force composed of governors and mayors of the region including health officials and officers of the PNP and the AFP, among others.

Palace’s latest advisory on Covid-19

On the Stringent Social Distancing Measures to Address COVID-19

After a thorough review of the Office of the President of the directives and guidelines crafted by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, by order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, issued a Memorandum addressed to heads of departments, agencies, offices and instrumentalities of the government, government-owned or controlled corporations, government financial institutions and state universities and colleges, as well as local government units.

Contained in the Memorandum are emergency but temporary directives and guidelines which are primarily intended to address the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

The stringent social distancing measures imposed in the National Capital Region (NCR), effective March 15, 2020 until April 14, 2020, are set forth as follows:

1. Mass gatherings such as movie screenings, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, and non-essential work-related gatherings shall be prohibited. Essential work-related meetings and religious activities may continue so long as strict social distancing, defined as the strict maintenance of a distance of at least one (1) meter radius between and among those attending, is maintained during the entirety of the event.

2. Local Government Units (LGUs) shall abide by the directives of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the imposition of general community quarantine in their respective jurisdictions.

For this purpose, general community quarantine is defined as a condition where movement of people shall be limited to accessing basic necessities and work; and uniformed personnel and quarantine officers shall be present at border points.

Thus, subject to qualifications that the IATF may further provide, all areas under general community quarantine shall implement the following:

a. Restrict the non-essential entry of people to the contained area, especially persons who are at high risk of being infected (i.e., 60 years old and above, immunocompromised or with co-morbidities and pregnant women), except (1) health workers, (2) authorized government officials, (3) those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons, (4) persons transiting to airports for travel abroad, (5) persons providing basic services and public utilities, and (6) essential skeletal workforce; and

b. Prevent the non-essential exit of people out of the contained area, except (1) health workers, (2) authorized government officials, (3) those travelling for medical or humanitarian reasons, and (4) those who were granted entry based on the above-mentioned provisions, provided that all persons leaving the contained community must be checked for signs and symptoms (e.g., fever, respiratory symptoms, diarrhea) at exit checkpoints where (1) appropriate certification will be issued by the competent health authority (DOH or Provincial/City/Municipal Health Officer), (2) health authority endorses exiting person to recipient LGU, (3) exiting persons to undertake 14-day home based quarantine, and (4) LGUs are required to monitor implementation of home-based quarantine.

However, if circumstances so warrant, the DOH and the DILG may direct an LGU to impose enhanced community quarantine, which is defined as a condition where strict home quarantine shall be implemented in all households, transportation shall be suspended, provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated, and the presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures shall be heightened.

3. Alternative working arrangements, including but not limited to, work-from home, compressed work week, staggered working hours, and creation of skeletal workforces, shall be implemented in the Executive Branch. All members of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Coast Guard, and health and emergency frontline services are directed to continue full operation. The Legislative and Judicial Branches, as well as the independent constitutional bodies are encouraged to adopt the same policy.

4. With respect to the restriction on land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from the NCR, all workers, whether employed or self-employed, will be provisionally allowed to travel. For this purpose, proof of employment and/or business must be presented at border checkpoints.

5. All departing passengers shall be allowed transit through the NCR. For this purpose, proof of confirmed international travel itinerary, scheduled within twelve (12) hours from entry, should be presented at checkpoints. However, outbound travel to countries where travel restrictions are in place remains prohibited.

6. The movement of cargoes shall be unhampered, regardless of origin or destination.

7. Suspension of classes and school activities in all levels in the NCR shall remain in force until April 14, 2020.

Aside from the current travel restrictions imposed upon foreign travel to and from China, including its Special Administrative Regions, and portions of South Korea, inbound travelers from Iran and Italy (except Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children, if any, and holders of Permanent Resident Visas or 9(e) Diplomatic Visas issued by the Philippine Government) shall be required to present a medical certificate issued by competent medical authorities within forty-eight (48) hours immediately preceding departure signifying that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

In addition, the DOH is authorized to grant exemptions, based on humanitarian considerations, in favor of outbound travelers who wish to travel to jurisdictions where restrictions are currently in place.

The Palace reiterates that all measures imposed are subject to the regular review by the President and the IATF in order to ensure that the virus would be contained and ultimately eliminated without extremely overwhelming the citizens in going about their daily lives.

A copy of the Memorandum containing the comprehensive list of directives and their corresponding guidelines will be released by the Palace.

As always, the President is hard at work in the service of the Filipino people to preserve the general welfare and protect public health.

Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson

PRRD, Go tested negative for Covid-19

The results of the tests for COVID-19 conducted on President Rodrigo Duterte and I turned out negative. We are fit and healthy to perform our duties.

But just like our advice to the general public, we will take precautionary measures seriously and comply with the advice of our health officials in order to remain healthy and avoid the spread of the virus while still being able to perform our mandate to the Filipino people.

Now more than ever, we as elected officials should do everything we can to be of service to the Filipino people. The government as a whole should still do its job in a manner that will not put the health of others at risk. Hindi pwedeng ipagpaliban ang tulong sa kapwa Pilipino, tuloy tuloy dapat ang serbisyo.

Sen. Bong Go

PRRD, Go tested negative for Covid-19

The results of the tests for COVID-19 conducted on President Rodrigo Duterte and I turned out negative. We are fit and healthy to perform our duties.

But just like our advice to the general public, we will take precautionary measures seriously and comply with the advice of our health officials in order to remain healthy and avoid the spread of the virus while still being able to perform our mandate to the Filipino people.

Now more than ever, we as elected officials should do everything we can to be of service to the Filipino people. The government as a whole should still do its job in a manner that will not put the health of others at risk. Hindi pwedeng ipagpaliban ang tulong sa kapwa Pilipino, tuloy tuloy dapat ang serbisyo.

Sen. Bong Go