MANILA -- Following the measles outbreak in several parts of the country, two lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Thursday called on the public to renew their trust in government institutions as a whole to contain the spread of the disease and prevent further deaths.

Earlier, the Department of Health (DOH) has reported that there is an "increasing trend" of measle cases in Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and Bicol regions.

Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo urged parents to have their children vaccinated against measles, saying unfounded fears on the negative effects of vaccination further puts their children’s lives at risk.

“We need to renew our trust to these tried and proven anti-measles vaccines. We cannot afford to risk further our children’s health because of some unfounded fear on the negative effects that may be caused by these vaccines,” he said.

“These vaccines have long been used by health professionals on our people, including ourselves when we were still young,” Salo added.

Measles, a highly contagious disease, can be prevented through vaccination.

However, since the botched anti-dengue vaccination program of the Aquino administration, the DOH has noted a significant drop of vaccine coverage -- from 70 to 80 percent of target in 2016 to 2017 to just 40 percent coverage in 2018.

With this development, President Rodrigo Duterte urged parents to have their children vaccinated against common diseases.

Salo, meanwhile, encouraged parents to immediately send their children with measles to the nearest hospitals.

He said even indigent families should not hesitate to go to hospitals if a member of their household has measles.

“Poor families with members infected with measles can avail of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage for indigents. Measles is covered by PhilHealth,” he said.

“What is important is that doctors can immediately examine and treat the children with measles. The health and lives of our children are at stake here,” Salo said.

He called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to alert their field offices in all regions affected by the outbreak to facilitate the needed documents for indigent families to avail of PhilHealth coverage.

“Barangay officials should also be ready to provide their constituents with the certificate of indigency and barangay clearance which may be needed by indigents to apply for PhilHealth coverage,” Salo said.

1-Ang Edukasyon party-list Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. echoed Salo’s call, further saying parents should not resort to homegrown remedies if their children have measles.

"This is not the time for any quackery, unscientific home remedies, and unsanitary practices that can only make matters worse for any person, especially children, infected with measles," he said.

He added that parents should not send their children to school if they are displaying measles symptoms to prevent spreading the disease to other children.

“Instead of school, they should go to the nearest barangay health center or government hospital. Schools can be hotspots of the spread of measles and other contagious diseases because of population density and the vulnerability of children and teenagers,” Belaro said.

He also asked the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to direct all school heads to take precautions against measles for the health and safety of their students and faculty.

"Correct information about measles should be circulated among teachers and students to counter any rumors, fake news, misinformation, and disinformation," Belaro said. (PNA)