DICT releases 138,000 COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021   •   127

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) has released 138,000 vaccination certificates since VaxCertPH was launched last month.

DICT Undersecretary Manny Caintic said that the number of released certificates came from the 225,000 vaccine certificate requests received throughout the country.

On Saturday (September 25), the DICT announced it will expand its pilot rollout of VaxCertPH to other areas including Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Metro Cebu, and Davao Region.

Dito sa mga regions na ito dito kami nagtutok. Dito tayo nagpatulong sa mga local government units na mag-set up ng data rectification booth, ibig sabihin kung mayroong isang magrereklamo na wala pa rin ang record niya sa vaccine immunization registry, pwedeng tulungan sila ng ilang LGU (We focused on these regions. We will seek the assistance of local government units to set up data rectification booths, so that if there is a complaint about a missing record in the vaccine immunization registry, the LGUs can help),” Caintic said.

Meanwhile, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and international travelers were given priority in the issuance of certificates.

VaxCertPH is a portal launched by the DICT and the Department of Health (DOH) which provides digital vaccination certificates to vaccinated individuals. AAC

PNP ready to assist in national rollout of COVID-19 pediatric vaccination – Eleazar

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it is ready to secure and help in the government’s nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for all minors, which is set to start next week.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said he has ordered all police units across the country to start security preparations for the national rollout of the vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 that may start as early as Nov. 3.

“Police commanders nationwide should get in touch with their LGUs to be able to effectively craft security plans with the aim of enforcing minimum public health standards and ensuring the safety of minors and their parents,” Eleazar said.

Police assets are also ready to assist in the national vaccination program in any capacity, including disseminating information and awareness on COVID-19 vaccines.

“The Medical Reserve Force is on standby and is ready for deployment to help facilitate the inoculation process should our LGUs require assistance in their local vaccination programs,” the PNP chief said.

The Philippine government is expecting to vaccinate around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the national government is eyeing to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

DOH says HTAC recommendations on vaccine booster, third shots to be updated

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) on the implementation of COVID-19 vaccine boosters and third doses are still interim and will be updated, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.

In a statement, the DOH clarified that HTAC’s recommendations only serve as a guide to sectorial planning and will be revised pending assessment from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the amendment of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

It will also be updated based on the recommendation from the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (WHO SAGE) expected this November, it added.

The DOH earlier said the EUA of vaccines must first be amended to state the number of doses that must be administered as part of the series. A letter of intent for the application of the EUA has been submitted to the FDA.

The DOH said that the formal recommendation on boosters will have to be adapted into a policy with operational plans

While waiting for the guidelines on boosters, the DOH reiterated that reaching eligible unvaccinated individuals 12 years old and above should be prioritized.

“The primary series of vaccines far outweigh the incremental benefit of boosters. We have to prioritize giving the primary series of these COVID-19 vaccines to the unvaccinated so they, too, can receive the additional protection that vaccines provide against hospitalizations and deaths,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

On the mixing and matching of vaccine brands for boosters, the department said that it will depend on FDA’s final assessment of the evidence submitted by the DOH All Experts Group.

Mayor Isko bares rehab plans for MSMEs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Maris Federez   •   October 28, 2021

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Thursday bared his plan on how to rehabilitate thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

These MSMEs were forced to close down and lay off millions of workers as a result of the crisis.

“Ramdam ko ang hirap na dinanas ng milyong manggagawang nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya. Paano natin sila ibabangon? We have a plan. And it is similar to what I did in Manila,” Moreno said in one of his rounds in the province of Pampanga.

Moreno believes local government units (LGUs) can never go wrong with investing in housing, education, and health just like what he did in Manila.

“We know that by investing in housing, at least, the multiplier effect is 17 times, so your peso will go 17 times much longer in housing. That has never been done in the Philippines in the past,” explained Moreno.

Moreno said rehabilitating MSMEs under his administration will be similar to having a “Marshall Plan” which helped European countries in their economic recovery in the aftermath of World War II.

Moreno’s version of the plan, however, is two-pronged.

The first is the partnering of LGUs with national government agencies such as the Departments of Trade and Industry and Agriculture, Land Bank, and Development Bank of the Philippines and drawing up a plan on how to help MSMEs re-start their business.

“The other part of the Marshall Plan is giving out loans, through LGUs, using their Mandanas incremental windfall to assist MSMEs through low-interest loans. Ang tawag po diyan ay Creative Financial Engineering or ISKOnomics 102.” said Moreno.

Moreno pointed out that as a result of the Mandanas Ruling by the Supreme Court in 2018 (and confirmed in 2019) the IRA (internal revenue allotment) was programmed to increase by 55 percent in the 2022 budget, reaching Php1.08 trillion or 4.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product compared to 3.5 percent of GDP in 2021.

“Kesa magastos sa kung saan-saan lang, hihikayatin ko, sakaling maging pangulo ako, ang mga LGU na gamitin ang dagdag na kita sa maraming taon. Isanla nila ang IRA sa DBP at maski pribadong mga banko na maraming pera ngayon dahil mahina ang loans dahil naman sa walang negosyo, para magtayo ng pabahay, iskwelahang kumpleto sa computers, at ospital,” said Moreno.

“Iyan ang solusyon ni Mayor Isko-Doc Willie. Tulong sa tao, hindi pulitika. Bilis aksyon. Dahil hindi tayo sumusuko sa pandemya. Hinaharap natin ang problema na buo ang loob; nag-iisip; pinag-aaralan; at kayang-kayang gawin,” said Moreno.

The Philippine Statistics Authority has yet to come out with the number of MSMEs that closed shop in 2020 at the height of the lockdowns.

As of March 2021, the PSA placed the number of unemployed Filipinos at 3.44 million. —/mbmf

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