GMR-Megawide is the key to stop any virus
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - January 24, 2020 - 12:00am

The bad news we are getting from abroad is that the supposed mystery coronavirus that has hit Wuhan City in China has now killed 17 people. However, on the plus side, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported that the five-year-old Chinese boy who was admitted to the hospital here in Cebu City is not infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reported in China late last year and that the boy no longer has fever but was still coughing. This was a report coming from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III the other day. He added that “The boy is in the process of recovering, so there is a possibility that this is not novel coronavirus... This is a good sign.” But still we have to ensure that no one else has the same symptoms!

Meanwhile, the final word will be issued by the DOH when the results of laboratory tests in Australia are known today. Duque said they couldn’t understand why the boy’s mother, who arrived with him in Cebu City on January 12, was not manifesting any symptom of the coronavirus. The two are from Wuhan City in Hubei Province in China. Meanwhile, the DOH also conducted contact tracing of the boy’s fellow passengers on the plane within four seats around him and who are may also be showing symptoms. I’m really glad the DOH is really giving this a lot of research.

Meanwhile, as a pre-cautionary measure, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) has put precautionary measures in place in an effort to control the potential spread and transmission of the novel coronavirus.

My good friend, Mr. Andrew Harrison, chief executive adviser of GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp., said that the airport is committed to ensuring the well-being of passengers and its employees, and will work with authorities in monitoring the situation. Harrison also said that all airlines have been advised to make a standard in-flight announcement prior to landing at MCIA, advising passengers experiencing flu-like symptoms to self-declare and voluntarily submit to a medical screening by the Bureau of Quarantine upon disembarkation.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Quarantine is on heightened alert and has intensified monitoring of arriving passengers by taking additional thermal scans of passengers on the aerobridges of all flights arriving directly from China. This is in addition to the thermal scanning at the immigration arrival level. There are a total of 36 flights per week from China to Cebu. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been installed at all aerobridges and arrival corridors with passengers being asked to use these facilities. Liquid disinfectant will be sprayed in the aerobridges prior to each flight arrivals.

At this point, I would like to believe that this boy from Wuhan who arrived in MCIA was detected by our airport health officials and brought immediately to an undisclosed Cebu hospital. I have confidence that Mr. Harrison is making those preparations already knowing that they just have too many flights from China and we thank him and his staff for their diligence in their work to make Cebu a safer place to be. Mind you, we are at a time in Cebu when the weather is pleasantly cool and therefore it is easy for us to get sniffles from this kind of weather, so watch out!

* * *

Again, allow me to appraise you with what is happening in Congress regarding their work to come up with a better political system for the country. I gathered that the House of Representatives will include provisions against political dynasties and increasing the Internal Revenue Allotment for local government units in the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution. This is something that we should have done a long time ago, unfortunately, people like former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. doesn’t want our constitution changed in order for us to come up with a better way to administer our country.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, said they will revise the report submitted to the plenary to include the additional proposals by the executive branch. Rep. Rodriguez said the panel made the move after receiving the proposals of the inter-agency task force on federalism and constitutional reform led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

He said the task force proposed the inclusion of anti-turncoatism and anti-political dynasty provisions in the proposed amendments.

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