‘Balik Probinsiya’ risk: 2 of 100 returning to Leyte positive for coronavirus

/ 02:44 PM May 28, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY—At least two of more than 100 persons who returned to Leyte through the program Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-Asa tested positive for SARS Cov2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The Department of Health (DOH) office in Eastern Visayas, at a press conference on Thursday (May 28), said the infected persons were a 26-year-old man from the town of Tanauan and a 28-year-old man from Baybay City.


Dr. Minerva Molon, DOH regional director, said the two men showed no symptoms and had been placed on quarantine.

Molon said she could not recommend the suspension of Balik Probinsiya because it was a national government program.


She, however, said the DOH regional office would check if there were any lapses in the program’s implementation and plug these to ensure that those returning to provinces were not coronavirus carriers.

“We have to consider the readiness of the community,” said Molon.

She said at least 4,000 individuals were set to return to Leyte under the Balik Probinsya program, which was hammered out by an executive order of President Rodrigo Duterte and sought to reduce Metro Manila’s population by enticing those from provinces to return to their hometowns and find work there.

Last May 22, over 100 workers in Metro Manila returned to Leyte which was among the provinces to first implement the Balik Probinsya program of the national government.

Dr. Lesmes Lumen, provincial health officer of Leyte, said those who returned to the province were swabbed before they were sent to their hometowns.

“It turned out that most of them were not swabbed in Manila. That was why we conducted swabbing here,” he said.

The swab samples of these individuals were sent to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City for testing.


Some local government units also took samples of returning individuals and sent these for tests to the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City.

As of May 28, Eastern Visayas has at least 31 cases of COVID-19.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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