‘Hindi nakapagtrabaho dahil sa pandemya’: Roque clarifies ‘nakabakasyon’ remark

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2021   •   258

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday clarified his earlier remark that Filipinos have been on a nearly year-long “vacation” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roque’s statement was in connection to the recent order of President Rodrigo Duterte to reduce the number of holidays this year and classify traditional holidays on Nov. 2, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31 as special working day in a bid to spur economic recovery.

“Napakatagal na po natin nakabakasyon. Halos isang taon na tayong nagbakasyon dahil sa COVID-19,” Roque said in a virtual briefing.

“Siguro naman po ngayong nandito na ang bakuna, hayaan naman nating maka-recover tayo for lost time, ‘no,” he added.

After receiving sharp criticisms from the public over his remark, Roque clarified that what he meant was the lost time and unemployment of many people due to the pandemic.

“Hindi naman po talaga bakasyon ‘yan, kung hindi, hindi nakapagtatrabaho, kaya ngayon na pupuwede na po tayong makapagtrabaho sana dahil nagbubukas na tayo ng ekonomiya, hayaan naman nating kumita at makapagtrabaho ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.

The Philippines rolled out its vaccination program on Monday following receipt of the 600,000 doses of Sinovac-made CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)


Supply ng COVID-19 vaccine sa Metro Manila LGUs, paubos na

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Paubos na ang supply ng bakuna kontra COVID-19 sa ilang lokal na pamahalaan sa Metro Manila.

Ayon sa mga alkalde, kinukulang na ang supply ng kanilang bakuna sa dami ng mga nagpaparehistro para makatanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine.

Sa Quezon City, hanggang sabado na lang ang schedule ng pagbabakuna sa mga indibidwal na maaaring tumanggap ng unang dose.

Sa mahigit 300,000 nagparehistro, mahigit sa 100,000 pa lang ang nababakunahan.

Ayon kay Joseph Juico, ang pinuno ng Quezon City Task Force on COVID-19, kakaunti na lang ang natitira nilang COVID-19 vaccine at hihintayin pa nila kung kailan ulit sila mabibigyan ng national government.

“As to the exact delivery of the vaccines, just like the national government, we are still waiting for the exact time and date,” ang wika ni Juico.

Sa lungsod naman ng Maynila, nasa 2,500 Sinovac vaccines na lang ang kanilang ginagamit ngayon. Sa 300,000 nagparehistro para sa vaccination, nasa 72,000 pa lang ang natuturukan.

Ang Malabon City naman ay mayroon pang nasa 6,000 vaccine doses ngunit kulang na ito para sa mahigit 13,000 pang kailangang mabigyan ng bakuna.

Ang lokal na pamahalaan naman ng Marikina, sa Lunes na inaasahang mauubos ang hawak nilang mga bakuna. Nasa 30 porsiyento pa lang din sa mga nagparehistro online ang natuturukan.

“Paunti-unti ang dating ng bakuna. Tulad ngayon, may dumating na bakuna. Pwede nating magamit hanggang Lunes para sa isang libong indibiduwal lamang. Kulang na. Kulang na. Kulang na talaga,” ang wika ni Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro.

Una nang sinabi ng national government na ngayong buwan inaasahang darating sa bansa ang karagdagang supply ng bakuna.

Nagkakaroon umano ng delay sa delivery ng mga bakuna dahil sa isyu sa produksyon nito at pagkakaroon ng supply shortage sa ibang bansa. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

US gives P170M support for Philippines’ COVID-19 vaccine deployment

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided P170 million or $3.5 million funds to support the Philippines in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the US Embassy in Manila said Thursday.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law announced this during a visit to a vaccination site in Caloocan City with Philippine Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III, Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan, USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, and other U.S. and Philippine officials.

The embassy said the new assistance will support the Philippines in strengthening the vaccine supply chain, monitoring vaccine safety, and delivering effective communication campaigns to address vaccine hesitancy.

It will also support local government units as they plan for, track, and administer vaccines, it added.

“While the pandemic has tested our peoples and our economies, the strong bonds between Americans and Filipinos will help us rise above this challenge,” Law said.

“We will continue to fight this unprecedented global health crisis together,” he added.

The latest assistance fund brings the total U.S. government support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to nearly P1.3 billion ($27 million), the embassy said.

Meanwhile, the embassy further reported that the White House recently announced a P194 billion ($4 billion) commitment to support the COVAX facility.

COVAX Facility is a global initiative to support early vaccine access for 92 countries, including the Philippines.

An initial P97.2-billion ($2 billion) contribution, provided through USAID, is supporting the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the embassy said.

The Philippines has so far administered over 1.2 million vaccine doses out of the more than 3 million doses that were delivered in the country.

Government data showed that 1,093,651 people received their first shot while 162,065 individuals already got two doses since the vaccination program started on March 1.

 

Galvez: 1.5 million doses of Sinovac, Gamaleya COVID-19 vaccines arriving this April

Robie de Guzman   •   April 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Sinovac and Gamaleya Institute are expected to arrive in the country within this month, vaccine czar and National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said Tuesday.

Galvez said one million of these vaccine doses will come from Sinovac and 500,000 would be from Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.

The first 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac are expected to be delivered on April 22 while the second batch will be on April 29.

Galvez noted that this is part of the commitment of Sinovac Biotech to deliver 1.5 million vaccine doses this month.

The other 500,000 doses were shipped last April 11.

There was no exact date given on the shipment of Gamaleya Institute’s Sputnik V vaccines, but Galvez assured that it will be delivered within this month.

The Philippines is also waiting for the arrival of additional AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from the World Health Organization (WHO)-led COVAX Facility.

The WHO previously said that the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses for the Philippines has been delayed and that it will be lesser in number than expected, due to a global supply shortage.

Once additional vaccine doses arrive in the country, the national government is eyeing to begin the inoculation of economic frontliners by May and to intensify the vaccination drive in other COVID-19 hotspots in the Philippines.

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