BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The possible filing of legal action against five returning overseas Filipinos from Negros, who allegedly hid information that they came from United Kingdom, where a new variant of Covid-19 has been discovered, before going home to Negros Occidental, is being looked into by the provincial government, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday.
Two of the five returning Negrenses, who are residents of Pontevedra town, tested positive for the virus, Lacson said.
Lacson said that swab samples taken from the two will be forwarded to Metro Manila for further testing.
The UK variant reportedly spreads faster, although there is no evidence yet that it causes more severe illness or increases the risk of death, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Lacson said they will continue to request returning overseas Filipinos to undergo swab testing upon arrival at the Bacolod-Silay Airport. But he stressed that they will not compel them to do so.
ROFs are allowed to go straight home when they arrived in Negros Occidental, after being quarantined and subjected to swab testing in Manila, as required by the National Inter-Agency Task Force.
But in most cases, Lacson said that ROFs and Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) agree to be subjected to swab testing upon their arrival at the airport.
The two ROFs who tested positive, declared themselves locally stranded individuals, he added.
Lacson said they are closely being monitored in Pontevedra to ensure that they cannot go out of their houses.
“We did not allow them to transfer to our quarantine facility, until such time that we know what the variant is,” Lacson said.
Lacson said the two arrived in Manila from UK on Dec. 31. He said they received reports that the two were able to leave Manila for Bacolod even before their quarantine period ended.
Mayor Marvin Malacon said yesterday that one of the returning ROFs, who is a resident of EB Magalona, has been placed under a 14-day home quarantine, although he tested negative for Covid. He said this is part of the precautionary measures against the Covid 19 pandemic.*