Duterte to seek doctor’s OK on getting COVID-19 vaccination in public – Bong Go

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021   •   379

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will get a clearance from his doctor on whether he should get vaccinated against COVID-19 in public, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Friday.

Go, former top aide of Duterte, said he spoken with the president who is still considering the plan to get publicly inoculated to boost vaccine confidence.

He also said that he is willing to join the chief executive in getting COVID-19 jabs to set an example and to convince Filipinos of the vaccines’ safety.

“Nagkausap rin po kami ni Pangulong Duterte, kapag nagbigay na po ng clearance ang kanyang mga doktor, ay willing po kami magpabakuna po sa publiko. Siya po bilang Presidente, ako po bilang senador,” he told reporters in Thursday after the opening of a Malasakit Center in Ilocos Norte.

“Hindi naman po ibig sabihin kami po ay prayoridad, mas gusto po naming mabakunahan ang mga mahihirap ngunit kailangan nating makuha po ang kumpiyansa ng bawat Pilipino para pumayag din po silang magpabakuna,” he added.

Malacañang in January said the president wants to get vaccine shots in private.

The government is expecting to receive the initial batch of COVID-19 vaccines next week. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Duterte OKs grant of one-time P20K aid to employees’ compensation pensioners

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the grant of one-time financial aid of P20,000 to qualified pensioners under the employees’ compensation (EC) program.

Under Administrative Order (AO) No. 39, which was signed on Monday, Duterte authorized the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) to grant the cash aid to EC pensioners for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and survivorship, in the private and public sectors, “subject to the availability of funds and pertinent laws, rules and regulations.”

Duterte directed the ECC, Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to set aside and release appropriate funding to cover the financial assistance from the Social Insurance Fund under the EC Program.

The ECC, in coordination with the SSS and GSIS, will issue the implementing rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of the order.

In signing the AO, Duterte recognized that the “adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, supplementary health necessities for the battle against the virus, and restrictions imposed on our mobility and social interaction, have increased the financial and health burdens experienced by the EC pensioners.

The one-time cash aid will be granted to around 31,000 pensioners of the SSS and GSIS.

Duterte said AO 39 will take effect following its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

PH COVID-19 vaccination rollout ranks third in ASEAN – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines ranks third among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccines that were so far administered, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Data presented by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje on Monday showed that the Philippines has already used a total of 1,456,793 COVID-19 vaccine doses, following Indonesia with 15.8 million and Singapore with 1.6 million doses.

The information presented by Cabotaje during an online briefing was based on April 14 Bloomberg data and other reports from Foreign Service Posts.

The health official said the Philippines was able to administer many of the doses delivered despite vaccine supply problems.

“Ang ating comparison ay number of administered doses kasi that will tell us gaano karami ang nakukuha nating doses at gaano tayo kabilis magbigay ng doses,” she said.

“One million out of 100 million is about 1% of the total population, but we are targeting 70 million,” she added.

Cabotaje, however, said that the vaccination rank on data presented was not based on the number of vaccinated individuals per population.

She explained that the data shows the speed of vaccination in the country as compared to other nations.

“Yung Bloomberg na yan ang kinuha niya – the number of jabs – and then nag-supply lang tayo ng data. But we can look later kung ano ang pwedeng denominator, ano yung total population na gusto nilang bakunahan,” she said.

The Philippine government rolled out its COVID-19 vaccination program on March 1 following the delivery of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines donated by the Chinese government.

The country has so far received over 3 million COVID-19 vaccines.

More vaccine doses are expected to arrive this month including 1 million doses from Sinovac, 500,000 from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute, and 194,000 doses from Pfizer.

“500,000 on April 22 and another on April 29. May indication, you know it can always change that we may have Pfizer vaccines that are arriving end of April and also Gamaleya Sputnik V, may kaunting initial… 20,000 doses,” Cabotaje said.

“In May, we are expecting another 2.5 Million of Sinovac and we are expecting the AstraZeneca from COVAX, hopefully by May or at the least very early part of June to cover iyong second dose natin,” she added.

The national government is targeting to inoculate 70 million people this year.

Statements of ‘alter-egos’ also reflect Duterte’s stand on West PH Sea issue — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Monday said there is no need for President Rodrigo Duterte to speak on China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea, saying the strong statements of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense (DND) also reflects the president’s stance on the issue.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement to dispel notions that Duterte has been silent on the reported number of Chinese vessels still lingering in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“Doctrine of qualified political doctrine, kapag po hindi dini-dis-own ng president ang mga sinasabi ng kaniyang mga alter-egos, parang siya na po ang nagsasalita, hindi na kailangang siya ang magsalita,” Roque said in an online briefing.

The Palace official was referring to a Constitutional Doctrine which states that “utterances of alter egos are utterances of the President unless the president renounces them.”

Roque also reiterated that Duterte already stressed the importance of the 2016 Hague Ruling on the West Philippine Sea and that the Philippines will not set aside the landmark decision.

The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea earlier reported that at least 240 Chinese vessels were found lingering in various parts of the West Philippine Sea during its latest sovereignty patrols in the area.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier demanded the immediate withdrawal of the remaining Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef, telling the ships to sail away and for the Chinese to “leave our sovereign territories and abide by the international law.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. also repeatedly fired off diplomatic protests and called for the immediate withdrawal of Chinese vessels in the disputed waters.

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