By Ben Rosario
A partylist congressman has reportedly tested positive for the 2019 corona virus disease (COVID 19).
At least two congressmen confirmed this information, and shared the text message allegedly transmitted by Office of the Secretary General to all “Lower House members and employees.”
Name of the concerned lawmaker was being withheld by The Manila Bulletin until it is officially confirmed by the leadership of the House of Representatives.
A source, an administration solon, shared the Secretary General’s messages came “out of concern” towards members of the media who are assigned in the Lower House.
It was noted that transmission of the text messages were restricted to congressmen and employees of the chamber.
“We were advised that the sample earlier screened was re-tested. Same result: Positive. The sample will be brought to RITM for final testing and official confirmation. (He was in Baguio when he was screened.),” the text message purportedly sent by the office of Secretary General Jose Luis Montales read.
The solon will be the third person from the Lower Chamber to be taken ill due to COVID 19. One of the patients, a 41-year-old male, has died.
A staff of the lawmaker has also been taken to a medical facility on suspicion of also being infected by the dreaded disease.
The message also contained the movement of the concerned lawmaker and the instances where he could have come in close contact with other people.
The solon’s schedule included a meeting with staff of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)- Bulacan at his office, and technical working group meeting on Cooperative Development on March 4.
On March 9, the partylist congressman was present at the meeting of the Committees on Agriculture and Food and Local Government, and a hearing of the Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries.
He was also at the executive session of the Committe on Ways and Means chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte-Salceda.
On March 10, the solon participated in the separate hearings conducted by the Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms and the Committee on MSMEs.
“It will take days before we can get the confirmation from RITM,” said the message from the office of Montales.
However, the message advised congressmen and House employes to “assume that he has been confirmed to be positive of COVID-19”, pointing out that it is better “to err on the side of caution.”
Self-quarantine for 14 days has been advised to all those may have had direct contact with the patient.