195 PDLs, 38 BJMP employees tested positive for COVID-19

Maris Federez   •   May 5, 2020   •   925

Inmates at the Manila City Jail | Courtesy: Photoville International

MANILA, Philippines — Close to 400 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) have undergone the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing.

The Department of Health (DOH) also reported that of the 373 PDLs who went through the test, 195 have yielded positive results.

Thirty-eight employees of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have also been infected with the deadly disease.

“Nakikipag-ugnayan ang DOH sa BJMP pati rin sa Philippine Red Cross (PRC) upang masiguro ang maagang ma-test, ma-isolate at magamot ang ang persons deprived of liberty, maging ang mga empleyado natin ng BJMP upang maiwasan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 sa loob ng mga kulungan,” said DOH spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH also said that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have visited the Correctional Institute for Women where a significant number of detainees have tested positive of COVID-19.

Several testing activities are also being conducted among the PDLs and BJMP employees in different detention facilities in the country as part of the preventive measures against the infectious disease.

The DOH is determined to reach its target of 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day until the end of May.

Vergeire said the agency’s four soon-to-be-opened swabbing centers will be a big help in intensifying the country’s testing capability.

These swabbing centers are located in Bulacan, Pasay City, Taguig City and along Roxas Blvd. in Manila.

“Ang lahat ng ito ay magbubukas anomang araw ngayong linggo ayon kay BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) President Vince Dizon. Upang maabot ang ating mga resulta ng target na 30,000 tests kada araw sa darating na Mayo 31, ang DOH ay may itinalagang karagdagang lab encoders upang mapabilis ang labas ng mga resulta ng COVID-19 tests na isinagawa,” Vergeire added.

The health department will also deploy additional manpower in the designated swabbing centers to help fast track the processing of results. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Angel Locsin apologizes after senior citizen died while waiting in community pantry

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Actress Angel Locsin on Friday (April 23) apologized after a senior citizen died while waiting in line at the community pantry in Quezon City.

The actress admitted they were not able to control the huge crowd that waited in line.

She said the community pantry was supposed to open at 10:00 a.m. but they had to open a bit early as the volume of people who want to benefit from the community pantry began to rise.

There were also individuals who did not have a stub and, yet, cut in line.

Hindi lang po talaga nila ma-control ang mga tao. Hindi po ito ang gusto ko, nagsimula po kami ng maayos ang aming layunin pati ang pagpaplano ng social distancing nagkataon lang po talaga siguro na gutom lang po talaga na kahit wala pa sa pila sumingit na. Sa mga nagambala ko po dito pasensya na po hindi po ito ang intensyon ko (We were not able to control the crowd. This is not what I wanted, we started off good and we planned it out including the social distancing. It just so happends that there were a lot of people in need that they had to cut in line. To those I inconvenienced, I apologize. It was not my intention),” she said.

The senior citizen, 67-year-old Rolando Dela Cruz, fainted while he was in line in the community pantry. He was rushed to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Barangay Holy Spirit Captain Chito Valmocina expressed concern over the lack of coordination between the local authorities and Locsin’s personnel.

Ang request nga nila dalawang tanod lang. Alas-dose na hindi pa natatapos ang 300 tsaka pa nila sinabi na talagang hanggang 300 lang (They only requested two barangay tanods. It was already 12:00 noon, they still were not done serving 300 [beneficiaries] when they said they will only accommodate 300 people),” Valmocina said.

Meanwhile, the Quezon City local government said they are ready to provide financial aid to the relatives of Dela Cruz.

The local government added that it still supports community pantries; however, the health and safety protocols should still be followed and organizers should fully coordinate with the local government to avoid a similar incident. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

PH records 8,719 new COVID-19 infections

Robie de Guzman   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases has climbed to 979,740 on Friday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 8,718 additional infections.

In its 4 p.m. bulletin, the DOH said the latest tally pushed the country’s total active cases to 102,799.

The agency noted that one laboratory failed to submit data on time.

Total recoveries climbed to 860,412 after 13,812 more patients recuperated from the viral respiratory disease.

The death toll rose to 16,529 with 159 new fatalities.

DOLE to hire 1,000 additional contact tracers for Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   April 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will hire up to 6,000 contact tracers to help in the government’s response against COVID-19.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that from the initial 4,000 recruits, the government is now planning to hire 1,000 additional  contact tracers for Metro Manila.

Bello said DOLE  has allotted an additional P65 million for the mass hiring, bringing the program’s total budget to P295 million.

The official explained that such augmentation is necessary as the demand for contact tracers especially in Metro Manila has been high.

“Kailangang-kailangan talaga ng ating mga contact tracer lalong lalo na dito sa NCR at saka sa apat na bubble,” Bello said.

As of Thursday (April 22), the number of applicants for the position has reached more than 10,000.

Bello said training for the contact tracers will begin on Monday (April 26). Accepted applicants will start their duty on May 1.

Each contact tracer will receive a monthly salary of P16,000 or up to P45,000 for three months. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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