House honors PH repatriation team for 'heroism' in Wuhan mission

The House of Representatives has passed a resolution honoring the Philippine repatriation team that brought home 30 Filipinos from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

House Resolution No. 711 honored the “heroism, courage and great compassion” of the 10-member government team that repatriated 29 adults and an infant from Wuhan on February 9.

“These brave individuals not only answered to the call of duty, but exhibited a strong sense of compassion for our ‘kababayan’ and nationalism that motivated them to volunteer their services and expertise to undertake this critical mission,” said HR 711.

“The heroism, courage, and empathy of the 10-member team of the Philippine Government for fellow Filipinos are truly remarkable, inspiring, and worthy of emulation and recognition,” it added.

The team is composed to 5 people from the Department of Health, 3 from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and 2 from the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai. 

The DOH and DFA personnel joined the repatriated Filipinos in the government-chartered flight back to the Philippines. The DOH team provided medical screenings during the 3-hour flight to Clark in Pampanga.

The team members are:

  • Dr Neptali Labasan, quarantine medical officer at the DOH-Bureau of Quarantine
  • Dr Oliver Macalinao of the San Lazaro Ruiz General Hospital
  • Rowell Divinagracia, nurse at the Philippine Heart Center
  • Jay Julian, nurse at the DOH-Health Emergency Management Bureau
  • Elmer Collong, medical technologist at the Philippine Heart Center
  • Rowell Casaclang, Abdul Rahman Pacasum, and Richard delos Santos, Assistance-to-Nationals officers at the Office of the DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs 
  • Mark Anthony Geguera and Sanny Darren Bejarin from the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai

The repatriates were brought to the  New Clark City Athletes’ Village where they will be quarantined for 14 days after their arrival. All members of the repatriation team were also under quarantine.

At the time of the repatriation, the death toll in China – mostly in Wuhan – was at 722, while the number of infected people reached 34,000. Days later, the number of deaths reached 1,355 while those infected were at 60,000. (READ: 'Novel coronavirus' or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far)

As of February 13, the Philippines had 3 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, of whom one died on February 1 –  the first outside China. The other two had recovered. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.