ACT-CIS Party-list Representative Eric Go Yap on Wednesday, March 25, said he has contracted the novel coronavirus, the highly infectious pathogen that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19.
Yap is the first member of the House of Representatives to test positive for the new coronavirus. Two employees at the House printing division fell ill earlier. One had died.
Two senators have also tested positive, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Pimentel has been lambasted for endangering healthcare workers at the Makati Medical Center when he brought his pregnant wife to the delivery room complex Tuesday night.
In a video uploaded on his official Facebook page Wednesday afternoon, Yap said the Department of Health (DOH) informed him earlier Wednesday that he has been found positive for the new coronavirus.
“Ikinakalungkot ko pong ibalita sa inyo na ako po ay tinawagan kanina ng DOH para sabihin po na ako ay positive sa Covid-19,” Yap said.
The congressman, who chairs the committee on appropriations and is the caretaker of the lone congressional district of Benguet, said he was tested on March 15. He said he had been suffering from a cough for about two weeks before the test.
Five days before he got tested, on March 10, Yap presided the committee hearing on the proposed supplemental budget for the DOH to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Dahil nakita ko pong importante ‘to, naniniwala ako na kailangan ng Presidente ito para labanan ang Covid- 19, imbes po na ‘di na pumasok ipinatuloy ko po ang commitee hearing para ma-aprubahan ang budget na ‘to,” he added.
“Hindi naman po ako nagsisisi na tinuloy ko yon dahil naniniwala po ako na kailangan po ng ating bansa yung mga pondo,” he said.
Yap stressed that he did not receive any VIP treatment for the Covid-19 testing.
“Hindi ako dumaan ng VIP testing dahil 10 days nga po ako nag-antay (ng result),” Yap said.
Yap had also gone to Malacañang for a meeting on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, but stressed that he had taken precautionary measures. He wore a face mask, used sanitizers and avoided going near the other officials, he said.
He also attended the special session at the Congress last Monday, March 23, to deliberate on the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which gives President Rodrigo Duterte special powers to deal with the pandemic.
“Hindi pwedeng hindi pumasok sa (March) 23 dahil napakahalaga po nitong gagawin nating special session. So no’ng sinabi ng DOH wala pa rin (result), pumasok ako, hindi ako humahawak sa mga tao at itinuloy ko po ‘yon,” he said.
By 9 p.m. of March 23, the House still had not voted on House Bill 6616, Yap said he was feeling cold and asked Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano if he could go home.
Yap said, however, that he did not have fever then and has not developed a fever as of Wednesday. But he felt cold and he was coughing.
Yap said he is currently in isolation.
“Sa totoo lang, kung ako po hindi ako public servant nasa bahay lang po ako. Sigurado po, hindi naman po ako mahawa dahil hindi aka lalabas. Kaya mga kababayan, ang message ko lang po hangga’t maaari huwag po kayong lumabas,” Yap said.
“Sa mga kasamahan ko sa Kongreso, gusto ko sanang humingi ng paumanhin sa inyo. Sa mga nakasalamuha ko naman, h’wag po kayong mag-alala, siguro mga ilang days na naman po ‘yon,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)