P1.9-B released for DOH procurement of COVID-19 RT-PCR test kits – DBM

Robie de Guzman   •   April 17, 2020   •   785

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Friday said it has released more than P1.9 billion to the Department of Health (DOH) for the procurement of testing kits for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In a statement, the DBM said it released a total of P1,912,500,000 to the DOH on April 15 for purchasing Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) detection kits. 

The fund will cover detection kits for the 68 laboratories expected to be certified by the DOH in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are estimated to conduct 918,000 tests. 

The DBM said the released amount is charged against the pooled savings from discontinued unreleased appropriations consistent with Section 4(v) of Republic Act No. 11469, otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”.

Philippines records 11,429 new COVID-19 cases

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Thursday reported 11,429 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, pushing the total caseload to 904,285, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the daily tally brought the country’s active cases to 183,527.

Ngayong 4 PM, Abril 15, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 11,429 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Thursday, April 15, 2021

The DOH, however, noted that the case count does not include data from seven laboratories that failed to submit their reports on time.

The agency also reported that total recoveries increased to 705,164 after 856 more patients recuperated from the illness.

The death toll rose to 15,594 with 148 new fatalities.

Shift to GCQ not just yet, says DTI

Marje Pelayo   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — With the current number of COVID-19 infections in the country, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez believes it is not yet time to shift into a more relaxed quarantine restriction.

During Thursday’s (April 15) Laging Handa briefing, Lopez said reverting back to a more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ) will depend on the utilization rate of major hospitals in the country.

“Kapag further bumaba ang COVID cases at bumaba ang utilization rate, maraming bakante, ibig sabihin pwede tayong magluwag ulit to GCQ,” he said.

In March, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe expressed concern over alleged COVID-19 clustering in workplaces.

Lopez said the recent spike in the country’s COVID-19 cases shouldn’t be blamed on the return of workers because the clusters of cases in workplaces was only about 20 percent since the reopening of the economy.

“Base sa datos, ang contribution ng mga cases —  mga clusters ng ilan sa workplaces — ay around 20% lamang,” Lopez said.  “Isa nga sa observation bago nagtaas muli ang cases ay ang pagdami ng non-essential activities and gatherings.”

For this reason, the official said that when the country reverts to GCQ, he would not recommend the easing of restrictions on non-essential gatherings.

“I would think that once we move to GCQ, isa pa rin ‘yan sa ipagpapatuloy munang ipagbawal – mga gatherings na non-essential,” he said.

PACC receives 8,000 complaints on cash aid distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Around 8,000 complaints on cash aid distribution have been received by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

The PACC, on Thursday (April 15), said during the rollout of the cash aid distribution the agency already received around 8,000 complaints.

PAAC Chairman Greco Belgica said the agency is already coordinating with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to discuss the said reports.

Nakakalungkot, we have just received 8,000 reports tungkol dito. Sina-summarize namin ang reports para sa gagawing meeting with the DILG, para maaksyunan, ma-imbestigahan, makasuhan (It is saddening, we have just received 8,000 reports regarding this matter. We are summarizing the reports for our meeting with the DILG for immediate action, investigation, and for the immediate filing of cases),” he said.

Belgica reiterated the need to increase monitoring during the distribution process in order to avoid any form of anomalies.

Titingnan po namin ang sistemang gagamitin nila bukod sa mga complaints. Monitoring has to be strengthened para maiwasan ang mga ganito (We will look into the system used by the [DILG] aside from the complaints received. Monitoring has to be strengthened to avoid these issues),” he said.

The PACC officials expressed alarm on the number of complaints. He noted that during the previous cash aid distribution, the PACC received around 9,000 complaints. During the recent cash distribution, the agency already received 8,000 complaints.

Belgica advises officials not to take the money especially when families affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic are finding it difficult to get by.

Kaunti na lang po iyan para po sa kanila, para po sa kanilang pamilya para mabuhay. Ibigay na po natin sa kanila iyan dahil kung pinakialaman po natin iyan (The cash aid is not much, it is for the public and their families in order to survive. Give it to them because if you took advantage and we will find out [about it]) we will make sure you will be accountable to it,” he warned. AAC

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