House targets passage of Bayanihan 3, economic Cha-cha in June

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 19, 2021   •   291

MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representative aims to pass for the third and final reading the Bayanihan 3, as well as the economic charter change in June.

According to House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, before the House goes on a session break in June it will pass the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act or Bayanihan 3.

“There is a consensus, we have to have additional support for our people, especially because the pandemic is still on going and raging,” he said.

Under the proposed Bayanihan 3, each Filipino will receive P2,00 cash assistance from the government which will be divide into two tranches. The proposed budget for it has amounted to P420 billion. This is to also help the country have an economic recovery amid the effects brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Meanwhile, House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairperson Alfredeo Gabin said House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco also aims to pass the economic cha-cha for 2nd reading before the session break. Garbin said that once the Senate also passes the the economic cha-cha, a plebiscite is set to be conducted during the national elections in 2022.

“Ngayon kung magkakaroon ng plebisito ang pinaka-ideal niyan ang sabi ni Speaker ay isama na sa national elections,” he said.

(Now if there will be a plebiscite, the ideal time for that according to House Speaker is during the national elections.)

The proposed economic cha-cha aims to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, this would boost the economy to more foreign investments and help in the country’s recovery amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. It also proposed to ease the provision where only Filipinos are allowed to own and control public utilities, education institutions, mass media companies, and advertising companies.

Rodriguez said this would attract more foreign investors in the country.

“When we go into that, in the stage of normalcy, then we would want it business sector to be really up and abound to be able to receive a foreign investment so that if we have more foreign investments. We have more employment for our people and more taxes for the government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Garbin assured there will be no political agenda in amending the Constitution.

“With the commitment of the Speaker that this will solely, exclusively confine in economic cha-cha, no political provisions,” he said. AAC (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

 

 

 

PH’s first 2 Omicron deaths were unvaccinated elderlies with co-morbidities – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has reported two fatalities linked to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The DOH said the two death cases were “aged more than 60 years, unvaccinated, and had pre-existing medical conditions.”

“Both were detected during the latest whole genome sequencing,” the agency said in a message to reporters.

The two patients were from Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

These are the first reported fatalities among those infected with Omicron in the country, it added.

The DOH stressed that while the Omicron variant mostly presents with asymptomatic and mild disease, data showed that the elderly, those with comorbidities, and unvaccinated are still most at risk for fatalities.

The health department also reported that 492 more Omicron cases have been detected in the Philippines based on the latest whole genome sequencing involving 714 samples.

The newly reported Omicron cases are composed of 332 local cases and 160 returning overseas Filipinos.

The indicated addresses of the said cases were from the following areas:

  • National Capital Region with 227 cases
  • CALABARZON with 76 cases
  • Central Luzon with 11 cases
  • Central Visayas with 5 cases
  • Cagayan Valley with 2 cases
  • Western Visayas, with 2 cases
  • Davao Region with 2 cases
  • Soccsksargen with 2 cases
  • Cordillera Administrative Region with 2 cases
  • Ilocos Region with 1 case
  • MIMAROPA with 1 case
  • Bangsamoro region with 1 case

The DOH said that based on the case line list, three cases are still active, 467 cases have been tagged as recovered, while there are 20 cases whose outcomes are still being verified.

This brings the total number of confirmed Omicron variant cases in the country to 535.

ALAMIN: Magandang kumbinasyon ng COVID-19 vaccine primary at booster doses

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Target ngayon ng pamahalaan na mapalakas pa ang ginagawang COVID-19 vaccine booster administration sa gitna ng dumaraming kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa at paglitaw ng mga bagong variant.

Bagaman sinasabi ng mga dalubhasa na epektibo ang lahat ng brand ng anti-COVID-19 vaccines na available sa Pilipinas, nagbigay pa rin ng ilang rekomendasyon ang mga eksperto sa bakuna kung ano ang magandang kombinasyon ng primary dose at booster shot.

Ayon kay Infectious Disease Doctor Rontgene Solante, miyembro ng Vaccine Expert Panel, base sa pag-aaral mas mataas ang naidadagdag sa antibody level sa mga indibidwal na nakatanggap ng primary dose ng Sinovac, na nagpa-booster shot ng ibang brand gaya ng Astrazeneca, Janssen at Pfizer.

“All the heterologous regimes had spike antibody response at day 28 that were superior to homologous booster. Ang ibig sabihin nito, ‘yung nakatanggap ng Astra, Janssen and Pfizer vaccine, mas mataas yung antibody level nila kumpara doon sa nakatanggap ng sinovac as a third dose,” ani Solante.

Habang ang mga nagpabakuna naman ng AstraZeneca para sa primary dose ay magkakaroon nang mas mataas na antas ng antibody kung homologous o kaparehong brand rin ang ipina-booster shot.

“They also look at the 3rd dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were given to those who were initially received the AstraZeneca vaccine. They found out that antibody titers were significantly higher,” ani Solante.

“When the third dose was given using the homologous booster using the AstraZeneca nakita natin na it went up, mas doble,” dagdag pa niya.

Bukod dito, nakita rin umano sa mga pag-aaral na tumataas ang immune response ng isang tao na nakatanggap ng primary series ng Pfizer at Moderna, na nagpa-booster shot ng AstraZeneca.

“They got positive results from a preliminary analysis. It showed that this vaccine the variant-specific vaccine given as a third booster dose can increase immune response to Alpha, Beta and you also have against Delta and then Gamma,” ang wika ni Solante.

“The main point here is that with variant-specific vaccine, it can be protective against that variant and have cross-protection against other variants of concern,” giit pa nito.

Dagdag pa ni Solante, kahit pa man Beta variant-specific vaccine ang AstraZeneca, nakatutulong pa rin ito para pataasin ang antibody response laban sa Omicron variant.

Samantala, ayon naman kay vaccine expert Dr. Mario Jiz, magandang kombinasyon rin ang AstraZeneca bilang primary dose habang Pfizer o Moderna naman ang ikatlong dose.

“mRNA vaccines are the newer generation of vaccines so they are known to be very, very robust antibody responders so these vaccines especially si Moderna which is yung amount niya kasi is much higher compared to Pfizer eh… We really expect that mRNA vaccines will induce very high antibody levels,” ani Jiz.

Isa rin sa ipinunto ni Dr. Jiz, ang kahalagahan ng pagpapabakuna kahit primary series pa lamang upang magkaroon na kahit papaano ng proteksyon laban sa COVID-19.

Samantala, muli namang nag-paalala ang DOH at vaccine experts sa publiko na samantalahin na ang pagpapabakuna upang maiwasan ang pag-mutate ng virus, at pagkakaospital at matinding sintomas sakaling tamaan ng COVID-19.

Pagbibigay ng COVID-19 vaccine boosters sa mga botika, simula na sa Enero 20

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Sisimulan na sa araw ng Huwebes, Enero 20 ang pilot implementation ng programang “Resbakuna sa Botika,” na naglalayong gawin na ring COVID-19 vaccine booster sites ang ilang pharmacy at clinic sa bansa.

Ayon kay Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response Vince Dizon, gagawin ang pilot run ng program sa limang pharmacy at dalawang private clinic sa Metro Manila.

“Bukas po, Huwebes, January 20 at sa Biyernes, January 21 magsisimula na po yung ating ‘Resbakuna sa Botika’ at sa mga iba’t-ibang mga clinics. Simula muna dito sa NCR pero mabilis nating ie-expand yan sa iba’t-ibang mga lugar lalung-lalo na sa malalaking siyudad sa bansa, Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao,” ani Dizon.

Kabilang sa mga botika at klinika na lalahok sa pilot implementation ang Mercury Drug, Watsons, the Generics Pharmacy, Generika, South Star Drug , Qualimed at Healthway.

Ngunit paalala ni Dizon, ekslusibo lang muna ang mga pasilidad na ito para sa pagbibigay ng booster shot sa mga nakakumpleto na ng primary series ng COVID-19 vaccine.

Ang mga pharmacist sa itinalagang mga botika rin ang siyang magbabakuna.

“’Yung mga pharmacists po natin ay ‘yan po ay mga qualified naman. Sila po ay dumaan na sa mga training kaya po sila ay importanteng dagdag sa ating vaccination program lalong lalo na sa kapanahunan ngayon na marami sa ating mga vaccinators sa LGU ang nagkakasakit,” ani Dizon.

Nagpahayag naman ng suporta sa program ang grupong Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) dahil makakadadagdag ito sa pwersa ng vaccinators.

Ayon sa PHAP, sanay ang pharmacists sa pagpapatupad ng health protocols at handa naman ang kanilang mga botika upang matiyak na maiiwasan ang hawaan ng COVID-19 sa mga magpapabakuna.

Sinabi naman ni Dizon na sa ngayon ay pinag-aaralan na ng pamahalaan ang mga insentibo na maaaring ibigay sa mga pharmacist na tutulong sa pagbabakuna.

“Ngayon po yan ay pinag-uusapan po natin ngayon pero nag-volunteer rin po kasi ang mga botika rin sa kanilang serbisyo at nagpapasalamat tayo sa kanila pero paguusapan po natin with DOH kung ano ang insentibo natin sa kanila,” ang wika ng opisyal.

Una nang sinabi ng pamahalaan na 100 booster shots ang nakalaan sa bawat kalahok na pharmacy kada araw at may kabuuan namang 3,500 doses sa loob ng isang linggong pilot run.

Paalala ng mga otoridad sa publiko na kailangan pa ring magparehistro bago makapagpaturok ng booster dose sa mga botika dahil ang mga lokal na pamahalan ang mangangasiwa sa registration at documentation habang ang mga pasilidad naman ang mangangasiwa sa aktuwal na pagtuturok ng booster dose. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

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