The Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) for the contact tracing of Filipino Muslims who participated in the tabligh in Malaysia recently following reports of coronavirus disease infection by some of the attendees.
According to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), 215 Filipinos attended the tabligh, an Islamic preachers gathering held from February 27 to March 1.
“So, nakikipag-ugnayan tayo ngayon directly with our BARMM, ang kanilang mga opisyales doon para makuha ho natin ang mga datos na ito,” said Health Undersecretary Rosette Vergeire in a press briefing Friday, March 20.
Bangsamoro Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Asnin Pendatun has said that they have already the names of some of the participants in the tabligh.
He said the other participants submitted themselves and are practicing self-quarantine.
But Bangsamoro Minister of Health Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan admitted that it was not clear whether all the participants from the Philippines were in attendance at the said gathering.
“Malaking challenge ito dahil karamihan ay ayaw aminin na sila ay galing sa Malaysia, at iniisip nila na kapag na-identify sila ay magkakaroon sila ng social stigma,” he said.
The BARMM IATF has been in contact with the NCMF as well as the Government of Malaysia for the names of the participants.
The task force also asked those who submitted themselves to provide the names of other participants they know.
“Inabisuhan na natin ang ating mga provincial health officers from different provinces under BARMM na hanapin ang address nitong mga kapatid nating ito at alamin ang status nila kung sila ay asymptomatic or not,” Dipatuan said.
“Kasalukuyan nating ginagawa itong [paghanap sa kanila], pero wala pa tayong maiibigay na specific number,” he added.