Garin’s Caballo visit called ‘careless misjudgment’
MANILA, Philippines–Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon branded as “careless misjudgment” the decision of acting Health Secretary Janette Garin and Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, to visit the peacekeepers on Caballo island.
“It is a careless, misjudgment not only in the actions that they did there but what they projected to the public. We have a protocol and there is no reason why protocols should be violated, because we are endangering the people, for example, the soldiers,” Biazon said in a briefing.
Biazon, a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said Garin’s actions “compromised” the government protocol in securing persons who just arrived from Liberia in Africa.
He said he could not blame the peacekeepers’ families, who have been barred from seeing their kin, from asking why Garin and Catapang were allowed to go to the island unprotected.
“She should be a little bit more careful next time, if there will be a next time. I think she should watch her temperature for 21 days,” said Biazon, who has left it to Garin if she would submit herself to a quarantine.
He said the Department of Health (DOH) had so far been lax in its protocol as gleaned from its operations in Caballo.
Biazon noted that the 132 peacekeepers were allowed to stay together in tents rather than being isolated from each other to prevent a single carrier from affecting the whole group.
He said this was the reason Congress should act on how it could provide the funds or logistics to help the DOH and other agencies to perform their mandate to protect the public.
Biazon said he visited the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, to check the protocols involved in containing the Ebola virus, especially since the facility and its workers were in his district.
He said he found the RITM personnel to be diligent in complying with protocol even if it meant going through several stages of disinfecting and removing the health worker’s protective gear.
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