Gatchalian renews call for gov’t to uphold teachers’ welfare amid COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 14, 2021   •   270

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday renewed his push for the government to uphold the welfare of teachers amid the threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gatchalian made the call following the deaths of five Department of Education (DepEd) personnel in Isabela due to coronavirus infection.

“Habang patuloy ang pagtaas ng mga kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa, lalong dapat paigtingin ng DepEd ang pag-aalaga sa ating mga gurong isinasakripisyo ang kanilang kaligtasan at kalusugan upang maipagpatuloy ng ating mga kabataan ang kanilang pag-aaral,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“Kailangang tiyakin sa ating mga guro na may agarang tulong na maipapaabot sa kanila kung sakaling sila ay magkasakit,” he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts, and Culture, said that upholding the welfare of teachers entails the strict enforcement of the alternative work arrangement, the assurance of access to COVID-19 testing, treatment for those who would contract the virus, and the prioritization of teachers in the vaccination program.

DepEd last year assured that its personnel is covered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth). The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) also offers the Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program, which provides income, medical, and other health benefits in the event of work-related sickness, injury, or death.

The School Division Office (SDO) in Isabela earlier said that it has reached out to the grieving families to provide urgent assistance and facilitate the expeditious release of benefits. DepEd also said that the infections were acquired through community transmission and not in their line of work.

Teachers’ groups have been calling on DepEd to extend financial assistance to personnel who get sick with COVID-19, claiming that teachers who got infected did not receive financial assistance from the government.

They said that any financial assistance extended to them comes from personal contributions or personal help from some government officials.

Gatchalian also reiterated his push to move up teachers in the COVID-19 vaccination priority list.

Teachers are currently under the B1 category with other social workers.

Gatchalian argued that teachers should instead be in the A4 sector with the frontline personnel of other essential sectors.

DOJ, DILG crafting guidelines for Duterte order to detain people improperly wearing face masks

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are crafting guidelines for the latest order of President Rodrigo Duterte to detain those who are improperly wearing face masks in public, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday.

In a message to reporters, Guevarra said the guidelines will include details on the booking and detention processes, as well as the investigation and the filing of charges against those who will be apprehended.

The DOJ chief, however, stressed that Duterte’s order takes effect immediately even if the guidelines are still being formulated.

“The President’s directive takes effect immediately even without the guidelines. Existing laws and ordinances define the prohibited acts and impose the corresponding penalties therefore, and the relevant rules of court govern the procedure,” Guevarra said.

He also advised the public to wear face masks properly and to follow the law to avoid being detained.

“The best way to avoid being arrested while the guidelines are being formulated is to wear a face mask and obey the law,” he said.

On Wednesday, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police to impose a stricter mask mandate to stem the spread of COVID-19 that mostly affected urban centers.

Clinical trials on ivermectin to start in June – DOST

Marje Pelayo   •   May 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that preparations are underway for the anticipated clinical trials on the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.

In his report to President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (May 5), the official said the trials will be spearheaded by pulmonary doctor Dr. Aileen Wang of the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and will be implemented for eight months from June 2021 to January 2022.

He said the Department of Health (DOH) has allotted a total of P22 million for the trial of ivermectin.

It will be conducted on 1,200 volunteer adults, 18 years old and above, who are asymptomatic or non-severe COVID patients.

The team is awaiting ethics approval this month before proceeding with the trial.

“Ang ginagawa ay ethics approval para sa kanilang gagawin at recruitment ng staff na mag-a-administer ng clinical trials,” Dela Peña said.

They are currently coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross for the utilization of its facilities.

Other agents also under clinical trial are as follows:

* Randomized control clinical trial on the efficacy and safety of Tawa Tawa for adjunctive treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients (11 months);

* Randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the safety and efficacy of Lagundi in patients with mild COVID and without comorbidities (10 months);

* Clinical trial on the safety and efficacy of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID patients (12 months);

* Beneficial effects of VCO among suspect and probable cases of COVID-19 (14 months, extension included);

* Melatonin as adjuvant treatment for COVID-19 in patients requiring hospitalization (9 months) ;

* Convalescent Plasma as adjunctive therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients. (12 months).

Dela Peña noted that the duration of clinical trials for ivermectin is almost similar in period as other agents. The progress of each study still depends on the number of patients who want to volunteer for the trial.

“Kapag dumadami ang pasyenteng magbo-volunteer, mas mapapabilis ang pagtatapos ng mga trials,” the official assured.

Quezon Governor Suarez contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   May 6, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez on Thursday said he has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Suarez made the announcement on the social media account of the Quezon Public Information Office.

The governor said he took an RT-PCR test on May 5 and he received his test result on Thursday morning.

“Sa kasalukuyan, maayos ang aking kalagayan at binabantayan ng aking doktor ang aking kondisyon,” he said.

06 May 2021

Ipinaaabot ko po sa inyong lahat na ang inyong lingkod ay nag-POSITIBO sa COVID-19.

Bilang pag-iingat ay…

Posted by Quezon Public Information Office on Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Suarez urged those who had close interaction with him in the past few days to undergo a self-quarantine and check any symptoms of COVID-19.

“Ipinapaalala ko rin sa inyong lahat na pamalagiang magsuot ng face mask, maghugas ng kamay at sundin ang mga health protocols para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he said.

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