Air travelers to Davao City may get free COVID-19 testing starting June 29 – Sara Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020   •   516

Passengers arriving at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport may avail of free and voluntary testing novel for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) starting June 29, the Davao City government said.

In a statement, the city government said that all air passengers who arrived in Davao City on June 8, 2020, whether experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or asymptomatic, can also avail of the testing.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the free reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for air passengers is one of the city government’s efforts to find carriers of coronavirus and curb the spread of the viral disease in Davao  City.

“Isa pa ni sa atoang mga pamaagi nga mangita og mga pasyente. Lahi pa ni sa mga ginabuhat nato sa atoang contact-tracing, sa atoang case-finding dinha sa mga communities,” Duterte-Carpio said.

(This is one of our ways in finding patients, apart from the contact-tracing and case-finding in our communities.)

“So, duna tay budget sa atoang Bayanihan Grant nga napasa atong April and atoang gamiton ni para sa katong voluntary ang free testing for passengers who arrived by airplane beginning June 8 until the present,” she added.

(We have a budget from our Bayanihan Grant that was passed last April, and we will use it for the voluntary and free testing for passengers who arrived by airplane beginning June 8 until the present.)

Around 1,000 RT-PCR testing kits are ready for the free and voluntary testing for passengers who arrived in Davao City from June 8, 2020, to the present.

“Duna tay listahan, but sa pagka karon nangita lang ta og volunteers. Asymptomatic or symptomatic – meaning naa moy ubo, naa moy sip-on o wala, gikaluntura mo or wala, pwede mo magpa libreng testing sugod sa Monday,” she said.

(We have a list but for now we are looking for volunteers. Asymptomatic or symptomatic – meaning if you have cough, colds, or fever, or even if you don’t have these, you may avail of the free testing starting on Monday.)

Before the start date, the city government said it will release the full details on how to avail of the free testing.

Meantime, air travel passengers may reach out to the COVID-19 Task Force Operation Center for the details on how they can avail of the free testing.

Those interested in the initiative may contact Davao City’s COVID-19 OpCen through 0917 508 6548 for Globe users; 0919 071 1111 for Smart users; or, dial (082) 244-0181 for information.

Davao City gov’t intercepts LSIs allegedly trying to skirt protocols vs COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

Locally-stranded individuals (LSI) allegedly attempting to enter Davao City using a different airport or via land travels to avoid cumbersome protocols against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have been intercepted by the Task Force Davao (TFD), the city government said.

In a statement, the city government said that as of July 28, Tuesday, the TFD reported having intercepted a total of 175 LSIs at the city’s three major entry points – Lasang, Sirawan, and Lacson.

TFD commander Colonel Consolito Yecla said that of this figure, at least 87 were residents of Davao City while the remaining 88 were just passing by for their destination provinces.

“Those who are residents of the city were escorted to the testing center for their swab tests while the non-residents were escorted toward the boundaries,” he said.

“We escorted them to the boundaries to ensure that they will not make a stop in the city, we treat everyone as a carrier so it will be vital if they make a stop,” he added.

On Wednesday the TFD also intercepted a person who failed the Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) in Trento, Agusan del Sur.

The patient was immediately brought to the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC).

Some LSIs are allegedly trying to skirt an earlier order of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, requiring those entering the city to provide negative results of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT PCR) taken at least 72 hours before boarding their flights.

The order was later modified and testing is now being done as plane passengers leave the Davao International Airport.

Contract tracing was among the main issues in the past when LSIs tested positive for the disease.

With the exit testing, contact tracing will now be easier, the city government said.

Sara Duterte to skip father’s 5th SONA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said she will not be attending the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte which is set to be held on Monday, July 27 at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday, Duterte-Carpio said she is skipping this year’s SONA because she wants to avoid the cumbersome health requirements like going through swab testing and 14-day mandatory requirement as imposed on Davao-bound passengers to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Hindi pa ako dumadaan sa RT-PCR testing and of course, pag ganyan babalik na naman ako sa pagho-home quarantine ng 14 days. It’s not something na I want to do again kay dumaan na ako sa ganyan,” she said referring to the time she underwent home quarantine last March after her meeting in Manila with Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who came in contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Mayor Sara also said she would rather stay in Davao City than travel to Manila to witness her father address the nation.

She also advised the public to watch the president’s SONA to hear about his administration’s accomplishments and other plans before his term ends in 2022. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Marisol Montaño)

Davao City offers free RT-PCR test for passengers arriving at Davao airport

Robie de Guzman   •   July 23, 2020

Air passengers bound for Davao City now have two options to comply with the requirement to present their 72-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result prior to boarding their flight, the city government said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the local government said that passengers may now opt to take the RT-PCR test at the airport or their place of origin at their own cost.

They may also choose to take a free RT-PCR test at the Davao International Airport and prepare to wait inside a holding facility for the results for 24 hours to 48 hours.

The new options were presented after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s meeting with the members of the National Task Force for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Tuesday night.

Last week, Duterte announced that all Davao-bound air passengers will be required to show negative RT PCR test results taken 24 hours to 72 hours before their date of departure.

The free testing service is offered to utilize the P6 Million Bayanihan Grant allocated for RT-PCR testing for a private Covid-19 facility at the Davao airport. 

“As approved during the meeting, the requirement of a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from departure date shall not be mandatory upon check-in at the airport of origin but shall be required upon exit at the Davao International Airport (DIA),” the mayor said.

All those who were tested at their places of origin within 24 to 72 hours of departure date but have not received their result shall not be allowed to exit the Davao airport until their test result is available, the city government said.

“We ensure that travellers who enter the city are negative, they just proceed with home quarantine. Dili na sad ta mag gukod sa contact tracing (so we would not go after people for contact tracing) since they do not have close contact,” Duterte said. 

In a letter dated July 21 addressed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Mayor Sara also laid a modified set of guidelines for passengers entering Davao Airport. 

Mayor Sara also sought the help of DOTr to request airlines to deplane all those with a negative RT-PCR test result first, followed by all those without their RT-PCR test result to ensure a safe and orderly exit out of the airport.

The city government will also accept a negative RT-PCR result taken within 24 to 72 hours from the domestic departure date conducted by a laboratory overseas for an international flight passenger, provided that all results written in a foreign language must have an English translation.

Children 12 years old and below are exempted from the RT-PCR requirement, provided that the accompanying adult passenger has a negative RT-PCR result.

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