CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 11 June) – Lanao del Sur reported Thursday its highest spike yet in new COVID-19 cases after over a month of having none in the province.
Zia Alonto Adiong, Bangsamoro Parliament Member and spokesperson for the Lanao del Sur Inter-Agency Task Force said nine returning residents from Laguna and Metro Manila tested positive of the virus based on the Xpert Express PCR tests.
Adiong said this ended the 46 days that Lanao del Sur recorded no new cases of the virus.
Adiong urged for an improvement in the process of sending home stranded individuals, including the need to upgrade the medical facilities and contact-tracing capacity of receiving local government units.
“This is why we need your understanding and most importantly your cooperation. The National Government needs to review and improve the ‘Hatid Probinsiya Program’ and ensure that more than just sending our brothers and sisters back home, their loved ones who longed for their return would also be safe from the risk of infection,” he said.
Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr. said those who were tested positive were “locally stranded individuals” who arrived last June 3 and 5.
He also appealed to suspend sending locally stranded residents and overseas workers until the National Task Force can ensure that no one is infected with the virus.
“The returning residents should be tested not only by rapid tests but a thorough swab test,” he said.
The provincial government chartered an Air Asia flight to bring home 129 residents last June 6.
Lanao del Sur Provincial health officer Alinader Minalang said of the nine positive cases, eight came from Marawi City and one from the neighboring town of Marantao.
Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra said the eight—five females and three males—were fetched from the joint triage medical facility in Barangay Sagonsongan.
Gamdamra said they are now placed on isolation at the city quarantine facility.
Meanwhile, in Lanao del Norte, Governor Imelda Quibranza -Dimaporo said that “effective June 11, the military forces of 4th and 5th Mechanized Infantry Battalions under the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army will man and secure the border quarantine checkpoints with personnel from Incident Management Team with some police authorities all throughout the province to strictly implement the health protocol to prevent lapses.”
Dimaporo said “the border checkpoints personnel should properly check and scrutinize the required pertinent document before any individual or group be allowed to enter the province’s jurisdiction.”
BGen Facundo Palafox IV, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade commander said the military personnel will be deployed Friday to border checkpoints.
The border checkpoints are located in Campong in Pantar, Poblacion Linamon, Mukas in Kolambugan, Caniogan in Tubod, Maria Cristina in Balo-i, Inagongan in Tagoloan, Piraka and Tagolo in Sultan Naga Dimaporo and Taguitic in Kapatagan.
As of Thursday, there were two COVID-19 patients at the Kapatagan Provincial Hospital – Annex Isolation facility. One is a returning overseas Filipino and one is a stranded individual from Metro Manila. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews with reports from Richel V. Umel)