By Martin A. Sadongdong
A young Philippine Army officer has died after exhibiting symptoms of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed on Thursday.
The fatality was identified as 2nd Lieutenant Vince Magbanua, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Alab Tala” Class of 2018. He was assigned at the 48th Infantry Battalion (48IB).
Magbanua was rushed to the Norzagaray Municipal Hospital in Bulacan on Tuesday, April 7, after complaining of difficulty in breathing, said Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson.
“The attending physician’s diagnosis was acute bronchitis. He was advised to return to barracks with medicines provided to him. He then observed self-quarantine,” Arevalo said.
Magbanua was brought to the same hospital the following day, April 8, after his condition worsened. Unfortunately, he was declared dead on arrival around 3:40 p.m. on the same day.
General Felimon Santos Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, said the Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion immediately conducted contact tracing and quarantine protocols.
“We are still waiting if he is COVID-19 positive but all measures have been undertaken. We quarantined all those in contact with him even though [there is] no confirmation yet if he is really positive,” Santos said.
Meanwhile, Arevalo said the AFP extends its sincerest condolences to the bereaved family and friends of Magbanua.
“He is looked up to by his superiors, peers and subordinates for his dedication, commitment, and idealism,” Arevalo said.
As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, there were 3,870 confirmed cases in the country with 180 deaths and 96 recoveries, according to the Department of Health.