Duterte hopes 50% of PH population vaccinated vs COVID-19 by year-end

Robie de Guzman   •   October 12, 2021   •   253

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hope that 50 percent of the country’s population will be full vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year.

Duterte made the pronouncement in his pre-taped Talk to the People late Monday as he mentioned the declining cases of COVID-19 in the country.

“Yung hawaan, contamination, nagbaba sa awa ng Dios. According to the latest data. Our weekly average of new COVID-19 cases has dropped to less than 10,000 and the current reproduction rate of the virus is down to .77% magandang balita ito,” he said.

Duterte believes that the decrease in the transmission rate might be due to the effects of the vaccine and the increasing immunization rate, particularly in the National Capital Region.

“Magtanong kayo kung bakit? Dahil sa bakuna. Dahil sa bakuna bumaba talaga ang hawaan,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier reported that around 23 million Filipinos are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while 26 million have received their first dose.

In Metro Manila, 77 percent of residents are already fully immunized against coronavirus.

“The challenge is now to further speed up our vaccination rollout, especially in the provinces, in the key cities and municipalities to achieve our target of at least 50 percent of the country’s target population by the end of the year,” Duterte said.

“We are confident that most, if not all, major cities in the country will be hit and even surpass this target before Christmas, sana,” he added.

The national government initially targeted to vaccinate up to 70 percent of the country’s 109 million population by December this year. However, it increased its target to up to 90 percent before the May 2022 elections.

Duterte reiterated his call for everyone eligible to get the vaccine to get themselves inoculated to protect them against the severe form of COVID-19.

“Again, I would like to ask everyone to go out and get yourself vaccinated, regard — regardless of the brand. This is not just for your own protection but also as — part of your civic duty to protect others and also allow us to turn the page to get everyone back on track to normalcy,” he said.

“If we continue to ramp up the vaccination of our people, along with our consistent practice of mask — huwag pa rin ninyong tanggalin — hugas at iwas, and may the gradual resumption of our economic activities, then we can hope for a better and truly merry Christmas. Bumababa ‘yung hawaan, simplehin na lang natin,” he added.

The national government is looking to start the vaccination of the general adult population this month to attain the vaccination rate target for this year.

The COVID-19 vaccination for minors aged 12 to 17 with co-morbidities is also expected to start on Friday, October 15 in eight hospitals in Metro Manila.


PH expands ‘red list’, bans travelers from 7 more countries due to Omicron

Robie de Guzman   •   November 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has added seven more countries to its Red List in a bid to control the possible entry of a new, heavily mutated COVID-19 variant called Omicron, Malacañang said.

In a statement, the Palace announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has placed Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy under the Red List effective November 28 until December 15.

This is in addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique that were earlier placed in the Red List due to the threat of Omicron, which was first detected in the area.

This means that travelers, regardless of vaccination status, who are coming from or who have been to the Red List areas within the last 14 days prior to their arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

The IATF said that only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List territories.

The Philippine government said that passengers already in transit and all those who have been to the said Red List areas within 14 days before their arrival to the Philippines, who arrive before 12:01 a.m. of November 30, 2021, shall not be subject to this restriction from entry.

“They shall nevertheless be required to undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days with testing on the 7th day, with day 1 being the date of arrival, notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR result,” the Palace said.

Passengers who have already arrived prior to November 28, and are currently undergoing quarantine pursuant to the classifications of their country of origin, shall complete their respective testing and quarantine protocols.

Passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through the Red List areas, will not be deemed as having come from these areas if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into such country by its immigration authorities.

“Upon their arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the immediately preceding paragraph shall comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols,” the Palace said.

The IATF likewise approved the temporary suspension of testing and quarantine protocols for countries/jurisdictions/territories classified as “Green” effective immediately until December 15, 2021.

Passengers from Green List areas who arrived in the Philippines prior to November 28 may still follow quarantine protocols assigned to their country of origin upon the date of their arrival, it added.

“Except for countries classified as ‘Red,’ the testing and quarantine protocols for all inbound international travellers in all ports of entry shall comply with the testing and quarantine protocols for ‘Yellow’ list countries,” the Palace said.

The Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with the local government units (LGUs) have been directed to identify and locate passengers who arrived within 14 days prior to November 29, 2021, from countries classified as Red, and require them to complete quarantine under a home quarantine set-up for 14 days from date of arrival and undergo RT-PCR if symptoms develop.

The IATF also approved the temporary suspension of IATF Resolution No. 150-A providing for the entry of fully vaccinated nationals of non-visa required countries.

“With Omicron designated as a Variant of Concern, the IATF likewise approved the recommendations to strengthen local COVID-19 response,” the Palace said.

“These include strongly enjoining the local government units to heighten their alert for increasing and clustering of cases and emphasizing the need for active case finding; to immediately conduct contact tracing and isolation of cases detected from case surveillance among the community, including domestic and international travelers; and to use RT-PCR testing in order to allow for whole-genome sequencing of collected samples,” it added.

The task force also directed the Department of Health to ensure health system capacity is prepared to address increase of COVID-19 cases.

It also directed the Sub-Technical Working Group on Data Analytics to prepare models to show potential impact of the Omicron variant to prevailing protocols and approvals of the IATF.

ALAMIN: Mga patakaran para sa isasagawang 3-day national vaccination drive

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Puspusan na ang ginagawang paghahanda ng mga lokal na pamahalaan sa Metro Manila para sa tatlong araw na national vaccination days sa darating na Nobyembre 29 hanggang Disyembre 1.

Kabilang sa mga inihahanda ay ang mga patakarang ipatutupad upang masiguro ang maayos na pagbabakuna sa bawat vaccination sites.



Sa Quezon City, sinabi ni Mayor Joy Belmonte na 17 vaccination sites ang bubuksan sa lungsod.

Pero mahigpit na paalala sa mga nais magpabakuna, bawal pa rin ang walk-in at kailangan pa ring magpa-schedule sa QC vaccination portal para sa oras at lugar ng pagbabakuna.

“Bawal ang walk-in, bawal talaga at strictly forbidden pa rin ang walk-ins dito sa Quezon City but they can register na sa ating Vax Easy Plus that’s found in our Facebook page as well as in our website. They can book their schedule, the day, the time and the venue,” ani Belmonte.

Aniya, target ng lokal na pamahalaan na makapagbakuna ng nasa 50,000 indibidwal.



Sa Navotas City, kailangan ring magparehistro sa covax.navotas.gov.ph ang mga nais magpabakuna sa 3-day vaccination drive. Ang schedule ay ipapaskil sa Facebook page ng lokal na pamahalaan.

Sa mga kabataang may edad 12 hanggang 17, obligado rin silang magparehistro at mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination sites na nakalaan para sa mga menor de edad

Sa mga magpapabakuna ng Pfizer, kailangan rin munang mag-set ng appointment sa vaccination portal, habang sa mga magpapabakuna naman ng ibang brand, maaari nang mag-walk in sa mga vaccination site na nagbibigay ng brand gaya ng Sinovac, Sinopharm, at AstraZeneca.

Pitong vaccination sites rin ang bubuksan sa Navotas City habang house-to-house naman ang gagawin para sa mga senior citizen.



Samantala, ang mga taga-Parañaque City naman ay pinapayuhang bisitahin ang website ng lokal na pamahalaan para sa schedule at iba pang impormasyon hinggil sa vaccination drive.

Ayon kay Parañaque Public Information Office head Mar Jimenez, nakikipagtulungan rin sila sa mga opisyal ng barangay upang hikayatin ang iba pang residente na magpabakuna na laban sa COVID-19.

“Ang atin pong pamahalaang lungsod ay lubos ang paghahandang ginagawa po ngayon para dun sa sinasabi nating national vaccination day kaya po yung pagkakataon na yan amin pong laging pinananawagan sa tulong ng ating mga butihing kapitan na kumbinsihin ang ating mga kababayan na hindi pa bakunado,” ani Jimenez.


Para sa mga nasasakop ng iba pang local government unit, maaaring bisitahin ang opisyal na social media accounts at websites ng kani-kanilang lugar para malaman ang detalye at proseso para sa pagpapabakuna. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Janice Ingente)

Patuloy na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level, kailangan vs bagong COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Naniniwala ang isang infectious disease expert na dapat magpatuloy ang ipinatutupad na genomic surveillance at restrictive alert level upang maagapan ang pagpasok ng panibagong variant ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Specialist at Department of Health Technical Advisory Group member, Dr. Edsel Salvaña, nakakabahala ang presensiya ng bagong COVID-19 variant kaya dapat magpatuloy ang genomic surveillance ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, Philippine Genome Center at National Institutes of Health upang ma-monitor kung may bagong coronavirus variant na nakapasok sa bansa.

“Sinusubaybayan natin ito bagamat hindi pa siya nagte-take over tulad ng Delta, nakakabahala rin ang mutations na taglay nito,” ani Salvaña.

“Lahat ng ginagawa natin para maprevent ang pagpasok ng bagong varaint, tuloy naman po talaga iyan. For instance yong genomic surveillance […] and the fact na na-detect na ang variant na ito at pinag-uusapan na ng WHO. Iyong UK nga nag- travel ban na sila. It shows na iyong ating global genomic surveillance is working and hopefully we can prevent the spread of any new variants that come up,” dagdag pa niya.

Ang bagong COVID-19 variant na B.1.1.529 ay natuklasan sa bansang South Africa noong Nobyembre 23 mula sa samples na kinuha mula November 14 hanggang 16.

Bagama’t wala pang kumpletong detalye ang sinasabing bagong variant at variant under monitoring pa lang ang klasipikasyon nito sa ngayon, sinabi ng World Health Organization (WHO) na kailangang bantayan ito ng maigi dahil nagtataglay ito ng maraming mutations na maaaring makaapekto sa behavior o bagsik ng virus.

Inaalam rin ang epekto ng variant sa diagnostics, sa bisa ng bakuna at mga gamot na ginagamit sa mga pasyenteng may COVID-19.

“We don’t know very much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large of number mutations,” ang pahayag ni Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, ang COVID-19 Technical Lead ng WHO.

“Right now, researchers are getting together to where these mutations are and what that potentially mean for our diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines,” dagdag pa niya.

May mga kaso na ng ganitong variant na naitala sa ilang bahagi ng South Africa gaya ng Johannesburg, Gauteng at Botswana.

May napaulat na rin sa Hong Kong na isang biyahero mula sa South Africa.

Sa Pilipinas, wala pang iniuulat na kaso ng B1.1.529.

Tiwala naman si Salvaña na agad maaagapan ang pagpasok sa bansa ng nasabing variant dahil sa umiiral na COVID-19 restrictions.

Panawagan rin nito sa publiko na huwag maging kampante sa kabila ng pagbaba ng mga kaso dahil nananatili pa rin ang banta ng COVID-19. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)


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