"We were waiting for them (PANGOLIN) to let us know kung ito nga ba ay unique to the Philippines or natuklasan na sa ibang bansa", Ong-Lim said.
"The appearance of these variants should not discourage us - they should invigorate and motivate us to turn the tide on the pandemic".
The total number of B.1.351 cases in the country stood at 90.
A coronavirus variant reported in the Philippines has been detected in a man who arrived at Narita airport, near Tokyo, from the country. The patient was reportedly asymptomatic.
"The same precautions that have helped us drive down case counts in the past can also protect us from the variants, as long as we are diligent". The PGC found it in the samples of an overseas Filipino worker who returned from Brazil and hails from Western Visayas.
An examination at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases discovered the variant in the sample taken from him. The Philippine variant may be more resistant to neutralizing antibodies, including those gained through vaccination, like the South African and Brazilian variants appear to be.
"What we have is isolates in the Brazilian lineage but not the Brazilian variant", she said.
The World Health Organisation has been informed of the cases, which have been designated "of concern" as it shares key mutations with the variant detected in South Africa.
The latest cases bring the total number of P.1 variant cases in the United Kingdom to 10. Both variants are believed to be more contagious.
Sixteen of the local cases were from the Cordillera Administrative Region, 10 were from the National Capital Region, two were from Central Luzon, and two were from Calabarzon, the DOH said. The rest are either returning OFWs or are still under verification.
"Of the additional 59 B.1.1.7 variant cases, 30 are local cases, 18 are ROFs, and 11 are now being verified if they are local or ROF cases", the DOH said. One is an OFW, while the locations of the rest are still being verified.