Charges mulled vs PUM-escapee

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said Monday that charges are being   mulled against a Person Under Monitoring (PUM) for the novel coronavirus disease or COVID-19 who escaped from the quarantine facility at the Mambukal Resort last week.

A PUM is a person who has no signs and symptoms of COVID-19 but has travel history to infected areas and may have been exposed to infected persons.

Lacson said the situation right now should be taken seriously.

Felix Alejo, who was taken to the quarantine center in Mambukal together with plane passengers from Manila on Thursday last week, escaped but was arrested by authorities in the evening of the same day.

Earlier, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said Alejo should be charged so that others will not follow his act.

Lacson told reporters in a press conference at his office here Monday that the more than 80 PUMs at the Mambukal Resort are doing fine and are given basic necessities.

He said they still have a week to stay at the quarantine center and so far not one has showed flu-like symptoms

“We hope it will stay that way,” he added.

Lacson said the PUMs are fed three times a day.

As to reports showing resort personnel wearing black bags as improvised protective equipment, Lacson said the provincial government has acted on the matter.

The photos went viral on social media during the weekend.

Lacson pointed out that there is no need for the resort personnel to use those “protective gears” adding that there are very strict instructions to them not to approach any of the PUMs.

He said the food for the PUMs is placed under a tent/canopy where they can retrieve their rations.

“There is no close contact between the PUMs the resort personnel. A mask will do,” Lacson said.

He also said the Provincial Health Office has recorded 29 persons under investigation (PUI), 6 of whom are still admitted and 23 have been discharged.

PUIs are persons with signs and symptoms and have travel history to infected areas.

As to the PUI in San Carlos City who died last week, Lacson said his swab result has yet to be released.

Lacson said the province, excluding Bacolod City, is considered as COVID-19 free.

He reiterated his appeal to the public to stay home and continue praying that COVID-19 will not wreck havoc on the country.