DOH vows to release special risk allowance to health workers within 10 days

Robie de Guzman   •   August 24, 2021   •   535

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday assured it is now working with concerned agencies to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to immediately release the special risk allowance (SRA) to eligible health care workers.

In a statement, the DOH said the Center for Health Development (CHD) has coordinated with local government units (LGU) together with public and private hospitals to submit the list of remaining healthcare workers who have yet to receive the benefit.

The department added that it is working with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to secure funds for the grant of the said benefits.

“I have also given marching orders to concerned offices to comply with the directives of the President on distributing SRA to our healthcare workers within 10 days,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

“Dapat maibigay ang SRA ng mga healthcare workers natin na hindi pa nakakatanggap nito. Patuloy natin sisiguraduhin na makuha ng ating healthcare workers ang kanilang mga benepisyo na naayon sa ating batas, ” he added.

Duterte last weekend directed the DOH and the DBM to immediately issue the allowances and benefits that are due to medical frontliners.

Meanwhile, the DOH said its offices are also working to comply with the recommendations made by the Commission on Audit (COA) on its 2020 annual report.

“DOH offices and operating units are now working double time to comply with the COA audit findings within 60 days or less,” Duque said.

“We have always been cooperative with the yearly audit of COA. The DOH always strives to comply with its yearly audit recommendations and this year will not be different,” Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, chief of the DOH Administration and Financial Management Team added.

The DOH has maintained that the P67.3 billion fund for its COVID-19 response is accounted for after the COA report mentioned deficiencies in its use.

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.

Duterte offers DOH Secy post to OCTA fellow

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has offered OCTA Research fellow Nicanor Austriaco the top post in the Department of Health (DOH) to replace Secretary Francisco Duque III.

During his weekly Talk to the People that aired late Monday, Duterte asked Austriaco if he is open to being designated as the new health chief.

“I would be happy to appoint you as the Secretary of Health. If that is okay with you,” he said after Austriaco finished his presentation on the Omicron COVID-19 variant during the public briefing.

Austriaco declined the offer.

“No po. Secretary Duque is doing a fine job po and he’s a Thomasian po,” he said.

Duterte pressed on with his offer, saying Duque has been asking to be replaced.

“He has shown — he vents a desire really to rest, you know, after all this ruckus against him,” the president said. “Sabi ko I’ve been forcing him to stay but he would be happy to give way to you, I’m sure.”

“Yes, Mr. President, to another Thomasian,” Duque chimed in.

Austriaco, a priest and a molecular biologist, is also part of the team developing the Philippines’ first vaccine against COVID-19.

 

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