Gealon says: Maguindanao students tested prior to travel

Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - May 29, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government has denied claims that the students who returned to Maguindanao province coming from the city were not tested.

Mayor Edgardo Labella earlier ordered an investigation into why students from Maguindanao were allowed to travel back to their hometowns allegedly without being tested.

“Gipahigaynan gyud og swab test. Dili ta makaingon untested. Kay kini sila tested. Mao nay labing siguro. That is a confirmation coming from the Cebu City Health Department (CHD) on that day nga gi-communicate sa Province of Maguindanao,” said City Legal Officer Rey Gealon, spokesperson of Labella.

“Tested ni sila through swab testing ug niresulta sa PCR machine nga negative sila sa mao nga test,” he added.

Last Tuesday, 11 more students who came from Cebu City and have arrived recently in Maguindanao have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Elizabeth Samama, chief of the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital.

The new confirmed cases brought to 12 the number of students who tested positive for COVID-19 in Maguindanao, after availing of the province's Balik Probinsiya Program.

Based on the initial investigation, Gealon said the students were made to comply with the three requirements based on the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)'s protocols before they were allowed to travel.

Some of these students were reviewing in the city for the architectural board examinations.

He said that last May 8, they were able to comply with the requirements for travel that include a medical certificate from CHD stating that he or she is COVID-19 negative, which is valid for 48 hours; travel pass from the city government; and repatriation clearance from the local government unit that will receive them.

“Kompleto ang maong requirements. Resulta, gitugotan sila,” said Gealon.

However, the students did not travel on May 8, even if their medical certificate is only good for 48 hours.

Citing a Facebook post of Makabagong PDRRMO Maguindanao, the students left for Maguindanao on May 14, or seven days after they completed the requirements.

“Atong ihimakak nga untested ang maong mga estudyante. It’s just that pagpaingon nila paglarga didto sa coast guard facility, wa na sila gi-test,” he said.

Gealon added there is a possibility that they got infected in the areas they were staying at while waiting for a go signal on their travel back to Maguindanao.

“Ug posible in the interim anang pag-issue nato sa ilang clearances ug medical certificate, didto nahitabo ang pagtinakdanay,” said Gealon.

The students are from the different parts of Maguindanao. While they were in Cebu City, they also lived in different areas namely Plaridel Street, Guadalupe, Sambag 2, and Osmena Boulevard.   GAN (FREEMAN)

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