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  • Pinay Whose Mom Died From COVID-19 Pleads:'It's Dangerous To Spread False Information'

    "She died alone without her loving family and friends around her."
    by Kitty Elicay .
Pinay Whose Mom Died From COVID-19 Pleads:'It's Dangerous To Spread False Information'
PHOTO BY iStock
  • The rapid rise in the number of people contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Philippines has understandably caused fear and anxiety in individuals, especially with the 30-day community quarantine happening Metro Manila. Because of this, there is also a rampant spread of false, malicious, and unverified information about the disease, which does more harm than good in containing the virus.

    Malicious information also affects the families of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. In a now viral Facebook post, Liza Paqueo, a Filipina residing overseas, and whose mother, Nida Paqueo, passed away on March 11, 2020 due to the virus, shares how false information has affected their family in this trying time, especially as her father, Dr. Vincent Paqueo remains confined in the hospital for COVID-19.

    The Department of Health (DOH) maintains patient confidentiality when announcing COVID-19-positive patients. According to the National Privacy Commission (NPC), the unnecessary disclosure of personal information of those infected may have consequences “far worse than the disease itself,” said NCP Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro in a statement.

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    By identifying her parents as individuals who contracted the disease, Liza hopes that the public could stop disclosing private information about their family, and to emphasize how false information can be dangerous to public health and welfare. She hopes that those who read her post would share it to others as well. Below is her statement in full:

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    “Dearest family and friends,

    “A few hours ago, my beautiful mother, Nida, was cremated. She died alone without her loving family and friends around her. She was cremated, alone, without ceremony or tribute. My father is alone as well. He is at a Manila hospital, in stable condition and in quarantine. But he is in deep grief over the loss of his wife of 47 years--the love of his life. My brothers and I are together here in the United States, but we are not allowed to visit my dad. We are not allowed to manage and advocate for him. It has been painful not just for my nuclear family but for all our extended relatives and friends who love my parents and cherished my mom. To compound the grief and pain, rumors and malicious misinformation have circulated on social media about my parents. This has all resulted in panic, violence, threats and stigmatization of our family and loved ones. Disclosure of private information has circulated as well.

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    “My post yesterday on her death was a tribute to her life and an announcement of her passing. On behalf of our Paqueo/Cortes/Kostreci families, we would now like to issue this statement:

    • My mother Nida Cortes Paqueo died shortly after her 67th birthday. She was healthy and fit. She went into the hospital on March 5 with localized pneumonia.
    • A couple of days later, my father was admitted into the hospital.
    • On March 11 local time (March 10 US time), my mother passed away. On March 11, we also received the news that she had COVID-19. My father also has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • My brothers and I are here in the US.
    • All family and friends who have been exposed to my parents are in isolation and quarantine.
    • The Department of Health is now working with the hospitals and my father on epidemiological protocols around this infection.
    • My parents are in Manila. In fact, they have not been to their hometown of Surigao City in several months.
    • In addition, they have not traveled anywhere domestically or internationally. They have not been to Siargao, Singapore, Australia, etc.
    • No one knows how they contracted COVID-19, but Manila is a crowded, internationally mix city of 13 million people. Speculations as to where they got it from is unknown, and we are leaving that to the Department of Health.
    • If you have been around my parents between February 29 (when my mother first reported symptoms) and her death on March 11, then we encourage you to self-isolate for 14 days. And if you have a fever and a cough, please report to the Department of Health. It is the responsible thing to do. There is no stigma with this disease.
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    “It is DANGEROUS, counterproductive, libelous, and ignorant to spread false information that could result in harm to our family and friends. BUT it can also be dangerous to public health and welfare. Please stay calm. If you have questions, contact me.

    “Our family has been in constant communication with infectious disease specialist, medical professionals and with each other to be socially and medically responsible. If you have any questions or fears, please do not hesitate to ask us questions.

    “HOWEVER, please do respect our family during this extremely painful time. We want to concentrate our energy and our prayers on our father's recovery (sadly from afar) and not on quelling damaging and dangerous rumors and threats.

    “We ask for your continued love, support, healing energy and prayers for my father and for our extended community.

    “Thank you. Maraming Salamat.”

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    According to pep.ph, Dr. Paqueo is the resource person who attended the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture last March 5, 2020. Because he tested positive for COVID-19, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Nancy Binay, announced they would be going on self-quarantine because they interacted with Dr. Paqueo.

    In a public advisory released by the DOH on March 12, they identified Dr. Paqueo and his wife as, PH34 and PH35 confined in Manila Doctors Hospital. PH35 “passed away due to severe pneumonia. The patient had existing medical conditions, namely hypertension and diabetes mellitus.”

    Arm yourself with facts about the virus so you can help contain its spread. Click here for myths surrounding COVID-19 and the truth behind each.

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