Duterte tells COA to stop flagging agencies, avoid tainting them ‘corrupt by perception’

Marje Pelayo   •   August 17, 2021   •   791

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte told the Commission on Audit (COA) to stop flagging government agencies and stop publishing reports as it would put concerned agencies in a bad light.

“Stop that flagging. Do not publish it because it will condemn the agency or the person that you are flagging. Huwag kayong sige ng flag nang flag tapos wala namang napreso. Wala naman lahat. When you flag, there is already a taint of corruption by perception,” Duterte said in his weekly taped briefing on Monday (August 16).

He said the COA should not conduct an audit while a project is ongoing or the documents are still being processed to be fair to the people involved in the project.

“May mga project tayo. So ngayon, mayroon talaga papel na hindi masyado nakumpleto. Kapag mag-[audit] ang COA, magsabi ng deficiency, hindi mo sabihin na deficiency dahil ninakaw ang pera,” Duterte said.

Duterte explained that when COA flags a “deficiency”, the public would only assume that the money had been stolen or missing.

In the case of the recent issue with DOH, he said: “Imposibleng magnakaw ng P67.3 billion.”

“To the issue of whether the money is stolen, that is pure bu***,” he added.

The President stressed that he will not allow any member of his Cabinet to steal public funds while he is in office.

“Do you think papayag ako na may isa dito sa Cabinet member ko na magnakaw maski one thousand? You really think that I will allow it. Marami diyan sa ibang departamento but not the Cabinet members,” the President said.

COA flagged the DOH for deficiencies in its use of the P67.3 billion COVID response fund.

From among the 13 deficiencies mentioned by COA, the DOH has resolved five of the items; three are partially resolved and the other five are still ongoing compliance.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the COA reports were referring to documentary issues.

The DOH has until September 30 to address all COA findings and observations.

DOH: Minors with health risks inoculated vs. COVID-19 now at 18K

Robie de Guzman   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Over 18,000 minors with co-morbidities have so far received their first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 since the program was launched on Oct. 15, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In a statement, the DOH said that a total of 18,666 children aged 12 to 17 years old have been inoculated during the initial phase of the pediatric vaccination in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The vaccination drive is now on its second phase with 26 hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccines to the pediatric sector.

The DOH said the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccination among children will begin on Nov. 3.

“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be used among children during the nationwide rollout,” DOH Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire said in the same statement.

“Further details and the guidelines with regard to the nationwide expansion of pediatric vaccination will be released once finalized,” she added.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.

Meanwhile, the DOH continues to urge the adult population, especially those belonging to priority groups A2 and A3, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to achieve the cocoon effect, which protects the children at home.

The department further emphasized that “choosing to get vaccinated will not only protect the person itself but also those around, along with the strict and religious adherence to minimum public health standards and other preventive measures implemented.”

The National Task Force against COVID-19 earlier said that the national government aims to complete the vaccination of children within this age group by December.

PRC allows deployment of dentists as vaccinators

Maris Federez   •   October 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has greenlit the deployment of dentists as vaccinators to ensure the faster rollout of government efforts against COVID-19.

This was announced by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Ben Hur Abalos during President Rodrigo Duterte’s Talk to the Nation public address aired Monday night.

However, Abalos said this needs an emergency order from the Department of Health (DOH).

“Sumulat na po ang Professional Regulatory Commission, papayagan na daw po nila ang mga dentista na maging vaccinators kung mayroon daw emergency order na galing sa DOH. Yan ang kailangan. ‘Di na kailangan i-amend ang batas at napakaraming manpower na maibibigay po ito,” Abalos said.

The MMDA chief added that Metro Manila mayors have expressed willingness to help the vaccination drive in the provinces, especially now that the NCR has already reached the desirable number of COVID-19 vaccinees.

“Tutulong po kami sa sinasabi ni po Sec. Vince [Dizon], Sec. Charlie [Galvez], at Sec. [Eduardo] Año ang mga Metro Manila mayors sa pagbabakuna po sa mga kapitbahay po naming,” Abalos said. —/mbmf

PH starts second phase of COVID-19 pediatric vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   October 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government has commenced the second phase of the pilot implementation of the pediatric A3 COVID-19 vaccination, the Department of Health (DOH) said Friday.

The rollout of the campaign in the entire National Capital Region was marked by a ceremonial vaccination held at Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Ospital ng Paranaque and Quezon City General Hospital.

The DOH said that the vaccinations are currently being held in selected hospitals as the expansion will be conducted in phases.

The DOH, NVOC and local government units chose the vaccination sites or hospitals for the initial phases, which have the capacity to manage possible serious adverse reactions to vaccines and facilitate easy referral of patients.

The government is implementing Pediatric A3 vaccination in a phased approach in order to formulate strategies on how it will be rolled out to other regions, and possibly to regular vaccination sites, the DOH said.

“As with the vaccination process of the adults, the vaccination for children will be closely monitored to detect adverse events following immunization to ensure the safety of our young vaccine recipients,” said Health Undersecretary Tong-An during the ceremonial vaccination at Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

For phase 2, the following facilities have been added to the initial list of vaccination sites:

  • Caloocan City Medical Center (North and South)
  • Ospital ng Malabon
  • Navotas City Hospital
  • Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital
  • Marikina Sports Complex (near Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center)
  • Quezon City General Hospital
  • Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City
  • Ospital ng Maynila
  • Ospital ng Makati
  • SM Megamall Mega Vaccination Site (near Mandaluyong City Medical Center)
  • Cardinal Santos Medical Center
  • Ospital ng Muntinlupa
  • Ospital ng Parañaque 1
  • University of Perpetual Help System Dalta
  • Pasay City General Hospital

St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City will also cater to the Municipality of Pateros, the DOH said.

The DOH reminded those covered in the Pediatric A3 Group to first secure a vaccination schedule with the hospital and bring the following documents on the day of vaccination:

  • medical certificate detailing the child’s comorbidity
  • valid IDs of both the child and the parent or guardian
  • any proof of filiation like the birth certificate

The vaccine recipient must also be accompanied by the parent or guardian at the vaccination site, it added.

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