SARS: GMA ASKS SICK OVERSEAS PINOYS TO STAY PUT

Manila, April 11, 2003 -- President Gloria Arroyo today asked overseas Filipinos infected with SARS to stay where they are and not come home until they are fully recovered.

Here is her full statement, released by the Office of the Press Secretary:

We shall continue to take defensive moves in the national interest, but we should avoid stigmatizing any nations or peoples, for no nation or people is at fault for this dreaded disease. We should deal with the problem with method and prudence; and minimize our irrational fears. Transnational cooperation, not division, is the key to the containment of this threat. Meanwhile, we shall maintain tight vigilance at home and prepare for the worst.

I would like to make a special appeal to our nationals abroad who intend to come home for the Holy Week. I will never, never prevent a Filipino from coming home, but please be guided by a genuine concern for others, especially your own loved ones. If you feel you might be sick or a carrier of SARS, please stay where you are and wait out the course of recovery. This is one sacrifice I am asking for the sake of our country, and I shall be very grateful for your forbearance.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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