Ranking military officials go on self-quarantine

By Priam Nepomuceno

April 1, 2020, 4:25 pm

MANILA – Ranking officials of the branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have placed themselves on self-quarantine in line with efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). 

Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command, said his 14-day self-quarantine began on March 16 and ended on Monday.

In an interview with the media on Wednesday, Bacordo said he decided to go on self-quarantine and have himself tested for the disease after he had contact with four Covid-19-positive patients, including Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff, Gen. Felimon Santos, in a series of meetings.

He said he tested negative for the disease.

Meanwhile, Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said PA commander Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay decided to go on quarantine on Sunday for safety reasons.

Gapay had contact with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who also earlier mingled with Santos on at least three occasions before the latter was found positive for Covid-19 last March 27.

Gapay had contact with both officials on March 16 during a meeting and decided to go on self-quarantine until April 10 even though Lorenzana tested negative for the disease on Tuesday.

"He is doing well, and (he) chose to go on quarantine, and he will (be) finished (by) April 10," Zagala said, adding that Gapay chose not to undergo a Covid-19 test because he did not want to deprive people who need the test more.

Meanwhile, Philippine Air Force (PAF) commander Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes started his quarantine period last March 24.

"Immediately after being informed on March 24 that a senior AFP officer was confirmed positive (with) Covid-19, the CG (Commanding General), PAF Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes started his home quarantine and, notified the Chief of Staff, AFP, and the Chief Surgeon Air Force. Concerned personnel at HPAF were also informed of his status," Air Force spokesperson Maj. Aristides Galang said in a message to reporters Wednesday.

"The CG, PAF was with the said officer on March 4, and very briefly during the call on the Chief-of-Staff, AFP by the newly promoted generals last March 12 at GHQ (General Headquarters), AFP." 

The latest outside engagement of Paredes was last March 21 during the turnover of medical supplies and equipment donated by local Filipino-Chinese businessmen, which were airlifted by a C-130 cargo aircraft from China to Villamor Airbase, Pasay City.

Paredes wore a mask during the event, which was also attended by Lorenzana and Santos.

"The CG, PAF is in good health and continues to perform his duties and responsibilities from his military quarters," Galang added. (PNA)