By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to assist the Department of Health (DOH) in its contact tracing of airline passengers to deter the spread of the dreaded 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the conduct of the DOH-led contact tracing will be done on passengers who also took the same flights as the two persons who were tested positive for nCoV.
“Secretary Eduardo M. Año has directed PNP Chief Archie Gamboa to secure the flight manifest from the airlines and immediately begin the investigation into the whereabouts of these individuals and report the same immediately to health authorities,’’ Malaya said.
Año has assured the DOH of the DILG’s full cooperation and support in conducting the contact tracing.
Malaya said “that Gamboa has directed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) under P/MGen Joel Napoleon Coronel to deploy tracker teams for this purpose.
Malaya noted that the CIDG will be under the supervision of Police Lt. Gen Guillermo Eleazar.
“All PNP units nationwide will also be tapped by the CIDG as may be necessary,’’ Malaya noted.
Malaya urged the public and the local government units (LGUs) to cooperate “in this important task to contain the spread of this disease in our country.”
“All DILG and PNP assets will be deployed as may be necessary,’’ he added.
The DILG had earlier warned uncooperative individuals with symptoms of the 2019 nCov that they may be bodily carried out from their houses and be examined by a doctor in a government-run hospital.
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said this goes for both local citizens and foreigners.
He noted there is no violation of people’s rights in these cases as public welfare concerns are at stake.
On Sunday, Año also asked the country’s barangays (villages) to form their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) in the wake of the spread of the 2019-nCoV.
Año said the concerted efforts of the barangays and the public are plus factors in helping the national government address the crisis.