AT LEAST 49 children in conflict with the law (CICL) being housed at the Davao City Children's Village or Bahay Pagasa in Davao City tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, which causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
City Health Office (CHO) Acting Head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a radio interview on February 18 that 49 out of the 105 total CICL at Bahay Pagasa in Barangay Bago Oshiro, Tugbok District were swabbed and confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus.
They are still investigating as to how the children were infected.
Lopez said the children were isolated in a separate tent located within the center.
He said the patients could not be transferred to the city's temporary treatment and monitoring facilities (TTMF), as they might escape since those facilities are not strictly guarded.
The health official revealed that three CICLs escaped from the facility in the previous days, but were immediately retrieved in a few hours since they are only living within Tugbok.
"Detainee man gud ni sila. Dili sila pwede ibutang sa TTMF. Basin mahurot silag panibat. Wala baya ta kaayo ginatawag nga strict security sa ato mga TTMF (These are detainees, and we cannot place them in our TTMF because they might all escape. Admittedly, we do not have that very strict security in our TTMF)," Lopez said in a radio interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
The patients, as of Thursday, February 18, are on their ninth day in isolation and they are all asymptomatic, he said.
Medical assistance was already provided and additional security personnel and medical staff have been deployed to Bahay Pagasa.
Bahay Pagasa is a temporary shelter of the local government for young offenders aged 16 to 18 years old. Offenses committed include theft, robbery, rape, murder and homicide, among others.
The Davao City Government issued an Executive Order (EO) 37 series of 2020 that mandates testing for coronavirus of all persons deprived of liberty (PDL) and CICL before their admissions or release from jail or the rehabilitation centers.
According to the EO, the City Government prohibits the admission of coronavirus-positive PDL or CICL to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the City Government-run rehabilitation centers -- the Davao City Treatment and Rehabilitation (DCTRCDD), Bahay Pagasa, Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth (RRCY), Balay Sidlakan and the Group Home for Girls.
Before the admission of the PDLs or CICLs, a certification from the Department of Health (DOH) or City Health Office (CHO) that they are Covid-free must be required.
If suspected to have Covid-19, they will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, while those who tested positive will be admitted to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
Meanwhile, PDLs or CICLs admitted in jail or centers who are probable cases of Covid-19 will be quarantined in their respective barangay isolation centers, while a non-Davao City resident PDL or CICL will be admitted to the quarantine facility of the City Government.
While waiting for the Covid-19 test result, the PDL will be quarantined in the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) or Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) quarantine facility for newly-arrested PDL, while the CICL will be placed in the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), or Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) quarantine facility.
The EO also defined guidelines before the commitment of a PDL or a CICL to a detention facility.
Upon arrest, DCPO or PDEA shall immediately conduct the Covid-19 test of the PDL or CICL to any testing facility duly accredited by the DOH.
The issuance of the said EO came after reported Covid-19 transmission in some jails in the country.