Duterte fires FDA chief Puno over alleged corruption
Robie de Guzman • May 16, 2019 • 11117
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Nela Charade Puno for alleged corruption, the Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo announced this during a press briefing on Thursday by reading a letter signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea addressed to Puno.
“Dear Ms. Puno, please be advised that upon the instruction of the President, your appointment as director general of the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Heath is hereby terminated effective immediately,” the letter dated May 15 stated.
“This is in line with the President’s continuing mandate to eradicate graft and corruption, and to ensure that public officials and employees conduct themselves in a manner worthy of public trust,” the letter added.
Puno was also directed to turn over all official documents, papers and properties in her possession to the office of the Undersecretary for Health regulation of the Department of Health “to ensure uninterrupted delivery of public service.”
Puno was appointed by Duterte as head of the FDA in 2016.
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent a bill that seeks to strengthen the country’s anti-terrorism law.
In a letter to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Duterte certified as urgent House Bill No. 6785, which seeks to amend and toughen the Human Security Act of 2007.
In his letter, Duterte said the immediate enactment of the measure is to “address the urgent need to strengthen the law on anti-terrorism in order to adequately and effectively contain the menace of terrorist acts for the preservation of national security and the promotion of general welfare.”
The House Bill reportedly adopted the Senate version which passed on third and final reading in February.
Under the bill, anyone who threatens to commit terrorism, propose any terroristic acts or incite others to commit terrorism shall mete out a penalty of 12 years of imprisonment.
It also introduces provisions penalizing those who will propose, incite, conspire, participate in the planning, training, preparation and facilitation of a terrorist act; as well as those who will provide material support to terrorists, and recruit members in a terrorist organization.
The measure also includes a new section on foreign terrorist fighters to cover Filipino nationals who commit terrorist offenses abroad.
It also aims to provide law enforcers the much-needed tools to protect the people from terrorism threat and, at the same time, safeguard the rights of those accused of the crime.
Once a bill is certified as urgent, the Senate and the House of Representatives can immediately pass a measure on second and third reading on the same day.
Rights advocates had earlier warned that the bill’s enactment would worsen the human rights situation in the country.
MANILA, Philippines — Upon the recommendation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the proposed participation of the Philippines in clinical trials that seek to formulate a potential vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Based on IATF Resolution No.39 dated May 22, 2020, the task force has also ordered the creation of a sub-technical working group which will be led by the DOST.
The group will be coordinating with the four collaborating organizations composed of the Department of Health (DOH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and the World Health Organization (WHO) with regard to the said clinical trials.
The IATF has also issued a directive to the FDA to facilitate the processing of necessary permits for the conduct of the clinical trials in the country.
The collaborating organizations for the clinical trials are the Adimmune Corporation, Academia Sinica, Chinese Academy of Science- Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, the Sinopharm – Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, and the Beijing Institute.
Once the clinical trials are undertaken, these will be included in the FDA’s requirements for the registration process for the vaccine and the application for certificate of registration to make the vaccine available in the market.
The Philippines has initially participated in the WHO’s clinical trials, which include the testing of off-label drugs that show potential of being effective against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the IATF has also approved the plans of the DOST to construct research centers for the local vaccine research development.
These include the Virology S&T Institute at the New Clark City in Tarlac and the reactivation of the Pharmaceutical Development Unit of the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute. —(from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf
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