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COVID-19 WATCH

Lawmaker urges the gov’t to disclose identity of COVID-19 patients

Keith A. Calayag

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A lawmaker from Davao urged the government on Wednesday to publicly disclose identity of all who tested positive for COVID-19, as well as those exposed to the virus to control its spread.

In his letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease, Rep. Alan Dujali of Davao del Norte said the government should implement regular public disclosure of people stricken with the disease as well as persons under investigation (PUI) and persons under monitoring (PUM) through the Department of Health (DoH).

“As we have seen in the media, there are many different personalities who have been tested positive with the virus, and yet have voluntarily publicly disclosed such fact,” said Dujali.

“If we go further by allowing our government to publicly disclose the identities of persons infected with the virus, the PUI and PUM, I believe we can make a more positive impact towards effectively slowing down the spread of the virus,” he added.

Dujali said such public disclosure of information through an authorized entity such as the DoH is legal since Republic Act 11332 otherwise known as the “Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act” provides a clear exception to Republic Act 10173, also known as the Data Privacy Law on the accessibility of data.

“Dissemination of such information to the public by the DOH and its local counterparts is not prohibited, yet actually mandated, so long as they are gathered from the official disease surveillance and response systems that are already built in place,” Dujali said.

“Therefore, given that our country already has a legal framework that provides a legal basis for the public disclosure of identities of persons infected with the coronavirus, as well as the PUI and PUM, the only thing that remains for us to do is to implement it,” he added.

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