DOH to meet with Cebu execs on COVID-19 protocols for arriving overseas Filipinos

Robie de Guzman   •   June 18, 2021   •   742

 

MANILA, Philippines – Officials from the Department of Health (DOH) and the province of Cebu will hold a dialogue to resolve differing COVID-19 protocols for arriving passengers, a health official said Friday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the meeting will be held after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) stressed that its directives on the COVID-19 testing and quarantining of incoming passengers must be strictly implemented.

 “Ibig sabihin, kung ano man po yung protocols ng IATF, yun po ang ipatutupad natin sa lahat ng ating borders across the country, that is very clear,” Vergeire said in a press briefing.

“With regard to the meeting with Cebu officials, yes, we will be going there. Ito po naman ay isang bagay na gusto natin ding gawin para magkaroon na ng kalinawan sa discrepancy sa protocols,” she added.

Vergeire did not say who will be attending and when the meeting will be held.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier directed the provincial government of Cebu to adhere to the COVID-19 testing and quarantine protocols set by the national government for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cebu had been administering RT-PCR tests on returning nationals upon their arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

This is contrary to the IATF protocols, which require arriving Filipinos to take an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of their arrival.

“Everything can be managed through this discussion,” Vergeire said. “We will be hearing them and they will be hearing us and hopefully, by the end of that day, resolved na po yung matter.”

The DOH earlier said that based on scientific evidence, the viral load in an individual infected with COVID-19 is still high on the seventh or eighth day, and that there is a high percentage that a person who might have the disease will turn positive during this period.

PNP backs DOH’s recommendation to keep PH under COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support to the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to keep the country under Alert Level 2 amid the declining cases of coronavirus infection.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said the existing alert status in the country should not be downgraded yet due to the looming threat of the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The time isn’t ripe yet since it’s the holiday season and we have observed more people becoming complacent to go outdoors, disregarding health protocol, and unmindful of the risks,” he said.

He also believes that a shift to a more relaxed quarantine level will affect the compliance of the public to minimum health standards.

Carlos, however, said that the PNP will abide by decision that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the implementation of COVID-19 alert levels system.

“The local government units are vested the authority to issue Executive Orders that police personnel are duty bound to enforce,” he said.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until December 15. Other areas in the country have also been placed under the same level.

The DOH earlier said that the IATF is still discussing whether or not to lower the alert level in the capital region.

PH gov’t eyeing to administer 7 million COVID-19 jabs in second vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is aiming to administer seven million COVID-19 vaccine jabs for the second round of nationwide vaccination drive, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Tuesday.

The second mass immunization campaign is scheduled from December 15 to 17.

“Ang tina-target natin dito, mga 7 million para second dose, para maabot yung ating pinupuntiryang 54 million by the end of the year na bigyan ng kumpletong bakuna,” Duque said in a televised public briefing.

This target is lower than the first vaccination drive conducted last November 29 to December 1 and later extended until December 3.

The government had hoped to inoculate 9 million people during the first three-day immunization campaign. More than 10 million were vaccinated in the extended drive.

The vaccination drive was launched in a bid to scale up the country’s vaccination rate to achieve population protection against COVID-19.

So far, more than 38 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated out of the 91.7 million doses administered since the immunization was rolled out in March.

The number of individuals who have received their first dose rose to 56.7 million.

The government is aiming to fully vaccinate at least 54 million by the end of the year.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier expressed hope that the second vaccination drive will also be successful.

“We will have a second round of Bayanihan Bakunahan from December 15 to 17. I hope that we would have the same success. But this time lesser because parang naubos na natin ang Pilipino sa ‘yung what counts sa bakuna kaya medyo there’s a slowdown of the COVID-19,” he said.

He also expressed optimism that the Philippines will be able to overcome the pandemic amid increasing vaccination rate in the country.

Bojo village in Cebu among UN’s 2021 ‘best tourism villages’ in the world

Robie de Guzman   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – An area in Cebu has been recognized as one of the world’s “Best Tourism Villages” this year by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Department of Tourism (DOT) Central Visayas office said.

The DOT said the Bojo village in Aloguinsan, Cebu was among this year’s 44 communities in 32 countries that made it to the UNWTO list.

Bojo was the lone winner from the Philippines.

“Congratulations to Bojo, Aloguinsan, Cebu for being chosen as one of the World’s Best Tourism Villages for 2021 by the UNWTO. From more than 170 nominations submitted by 75 countries, Bojo, Aloguinsan shined bright as the lone winner from the Philippines,” the agency said in its social media account.

In its website, the UNWTO said the initiative was launched “to advance the role of tourism in safeguarding rural villages, along with their landscapes, natural and cultural diversity, and their local values and activities, including local gastronomy.”

It said the villages chosen this year “stand out for their natural and cultural resources as well as for their innovative and transformative actions and commitment to the development of tourism in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The UNWTO said the villages were evaluated by an independent advisory board based on a set of criteria, including cultural and natural resources; promotion and conservation of cultural resources; economic, social, and environmental sustainability; tourism potential and development and value chain integration; governance and prioritization of tourism; infrastructure and connectivity; and health, safety and security.

“Tourism can be a driver of social cohesion and inclusion by promoting a fairer distribution of benefits throughout the territory and empowering local communities,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili was quoted as saying in its website.

“This initiative recognizes those villages committed to making tourism a strong driver of their development and wellbeing,” he added.

The awarding ceremony held in Madrid, Spain last December 2 was attended and represented by the Spain Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Philippe Jones Lhuillier and Asec. Verna Esmeralda C. Buensuceso.

The complete list can be viewed here.

The UNWTO said the next edition will open in February 2022.

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