24 Filipino cops in Liberia test negative for Ebola
MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-four Filipino cops and a jail officer serving the United Nations Mission (UNIMIL) in Liberia also tested negative for Ebola.
They are joining the 108 Filipino troops coming home Wednesday evening, November 12, who earlier passed the Ebola screening conducted by the UN.
"On Saturday, Nov 8, they all passed the Ebola Screening Test that was conducted by UNMIL doctors. The clinical assessment was strictly required for peacekeepers who are due for repatriation," announced Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr on Monday, November 10.
Established in 2003, UNIMIL forces are tasked to keep the peace in Liberia after years of war and support the UN mission to restructure its military and reform the police.
The returning Filipino troops – an all-Air Force team – belong to the 18th Philippine peacekeeping contigent to Liberia while the cops served the UN Police and the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology served as UN Staff Officers.
All 133 will be sent straight to Caballo Island where they will be quarantined for 3 weeks. Catapang said a Hero's Welcome will be scheduled after the quarantine period.
The quarantine is an additional precautionary measure in compliance with the Philippine government’s drive for the country to remain Ebola Virus Disease-free.
Liberia is one of 3 West African countries suffering from an Ebola outbreak. The Philippine government decided to pull out troops in Liberia in August because of the health risks.
Catapang gave assurances that recreational facilties were installed on Caballo Island, a Navy outpost located at the mouth of Manila Bay.
The Philippine military is working closely with the Department of Health’s Bureau of Quarantine, Health Emergency Management Bureau; and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Catapang said.
"To the family members of our gallant peacekeepers, I would like to ask your patience for extending the absence of your loved ones. I have done everything to make their stay at the Island Paradise of Caballo, a very pleasant and memorable one," Catapang said.
"Both Smart and Globe Communications have expanded their cellular network coverage in order to provide telecom services for our hero-peacekeepers," he added. – Rappler.com