JDV: No need to quarantine Pinoy travelers
- Jess Diaz () - March 28, 2003 - 12:00am
SHANGHAI, China — Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. said yesterday there is no need for the government to order a week-long home confinement for Filipino travelers to prevent the spread of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

"Kalokohan ‘yan (That’s foolishness)," he told reporters here in reaction to reports about the confinement plan.

According to the reports, the government would ask Filipinos returning from Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Canada – where SARS cases have been detected – to be confined to their homes for one week to prevent the spread of the mystery affliction to which there is yet no antidote.

De Venecia said a few minutes check-up by health authorities of returning Filipinos should be enough.

He said those found with symptoms should be ordered confirmed and treated, while those cleared should be allowed to move about and do their jobs and asked to report to medical authorities if they show signs of the mystery flu.

"I can understand that we have to take precautionary measures, but let us not be alarmist. Let us not overdo what we need to do," he said.

He said if confinement is ordered, hundreds of thousands of Filipino tourists and foreign visitors not only from Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Canada but also from Europe and the United States – where some SARS cases have been recently reported – would be covered.

He added that the government has no means to enforce such a plan.

De Venecia is here together with 10 other House members and several Philippine officials to inaugurate the first and largest trade fair in Shanghai.

The exhibition of Philippine products and services is part of President Arroyo’s program to boost exports to China.

The fair was organized by an inter-agency committee chaired by Manila Rep. Harry Angping.

Angping said at present, Philippine exports to China are only about $1.7 billion a year, or less than one percent of the $200-billion Chinese export market.

"If we can just hit three percent to five percent, that is $6 billion to $10 billion in additional export income for us. And given our long history of cultural and trade ties with China, that should not be difficult to accomplish," he said.

ANGPING CHINA DE VENECIA EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES HARRY ANGPING HONG KONG KALOKOHAN MANILA REP PRESIDENT ARROYO SPEAKER JOSE VENECIA JR.
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