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Malacanang rejects house-to-house search

Malacanang announced it is not in favor of policemen going “house-to-house” in search of confirmed COVID-19 patients, instead it urged those with mild and asymptomatic cases to admit themselves to isolation facilities.

The Palace gave the assurance after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said the Philippine National police and local government staff will search houses for identified COVID-19 infections who should not be on home quarantine.

Malacanang spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said, “They will not go house-to-house. The (COVID-19 patients) will have to be reported by their family or the barangay,” he added.

Roque directed those with mild and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases to confine themselves in isolation centers where they can have free meals and free Wi-Fi access. Quarantine facilities also have doctors and nurses.

“We’re trying precisely to entice them with excellent facilities. It’s a paid vacation in an air-conditioned facility,” Roque said.

“It’s not as if they are brought to jails. They look like hotels. So, it’s not as if they will be sent to solitary confinement. But there’s no other way,” he added.

Roque said transferring patients to a quarantine facility was part of the “inherent police power of the state”.

“Anywhere in the world, ‘pag meron dapat i-quarantine, puwede ‘yan kunin ng gobyerno. Let’s not make a big issue out of it especially when we know that studies already indicate that this virus may have already mutated and it’s even more contagious,” he added. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said conducting house-to-house searches violates the constitution. “We need health professionals to contact trace those affected, not the police to sow fear and panic,” he said

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