Palace Spox Roque files leave of absence effective Oct. 8

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2018   •   2612

FILE PHOTO: Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

 

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque files a leave of absence effective Monday (October 8).

Roque made a sudden cancellation of his supposed press briefing at Malacañang and for the rest of the week.

“Please be advised that the Presidential Spokesperson will be on leave starting today, Monday, October 8. All requests for statements kindly post here for his corresponding response. Thank you,” read the notice from Roque’s office.

In a text message to UNTV, Roque said he has not yet decided whether to run for senator or accept the offer of President Rodrigo Duterte to handle a different position in the Cabinet.

Roque previously announced that he will be spending the whole weekend to think things through before making a decision.

In a separate interview, Roque said he is travelling abroad but not with the President’s delegation who are bound for Indonesia to attend the ASEAN Leaders Gathering.

Roque said he has not spoken yet with President Duterte as of this writing. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo

Sec. Roque to undergo facility-based quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   March 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque says he is now inclined to undergo a facility-based quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19.

During his stint as presidential spokesperson amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Roque has undergone 35 RT-PCR tests.

He said he is currently asymptomatic and admitted that he was shocked to find out that he was infected with the virus.

“It came as a surprise and a shock. It’s not just a shock na after about 35 tests nag-positive tayo,” he noted.

The Palace official said he plans to stay at an institutional quarantine facility since his wife also has comorbidities like him.

Sec. Roque clarifies, however, that he had no close interaction with President Rodrigo Duterte or other Cabinet members.

He says he met the Chief Executive last Thursday, March 11 on the launching of the rehabilitation projects for the Dumaguete-Sibulan airport and he was still negative for COVID-19.

“Hindi naman ako nakipag-close interaction with anyone kasi pag public event, hindi naman ako bumubulong and I tried to keep my distance also,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the official also advises those who had close contact with him during the past days to undergo quarantine and RT-PCR test.

The official will keep on working while in isolation.

He will also attend the meeting with the President and the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 virtually.

“Tinamaan po tayo ng COVID-19. Wala naman po tayong sintomas. Mag-a-isolate tayo para huwag makahawa,” he said.

“Pero tuloy po tayo sa hanapbuhay dahil ganiyan po talaga ang buhay. Tuloy-tuloy ang buhay kahit nandiyan si COVID,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Malacañang closely monitoring TD Auring, readies line agencies ahead of landfall

Marje Pelayo   •   February 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque has assured that Malacañang is closely monitoring developments in relation to tropical depression Auring especially in areas affected by the weather disturbance.

Roque said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and line government agencies have been providing relief assistance to affected communities.

A total of P1.2 billion in relief stockpiles and standby funds have been readied by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in all its Central Office, Field Offices and National Resource Operations Center.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) has prepositioned more than P19 million worth of medicines, medical supplies, health kits in its Centers for Health Development.

Roque added that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has already sent its deployable response groups (DRGs) to affected areas to assist in evacuation and /or rescue operations in coordination with the concerned local government units (LGU). 

“We ask the public, especially residents of affected areas, to remain vigilant, be prepared and ready for possible evacuation in case their local authorities advise them to do so as a precautionary measure,” the Palace official said while he urged the public to regularly check the latest weather advisories and other information related to the weather system throughout its prevalence.

First 50,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine allotted for health workers — Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the first 50,000 doses of China’s Sinovac vaccines for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will arrive in the country next month.

The first shipment of vaccines will be allotted for medical frontliners, Roque said.

The Palace official added that the health workers cannot choose their preferred brand of vaccine because the Sinovac shipment is the only vaccine expected to arrive in the country from February to July.

All other brands are expected to arrive in July onwards.

“Pagdating po sa Pebrero hanggang Hunyo, wala po talagang pagpipilian. Kung ayaw ninyo ng Sinovac, well hindi po kayo pipilitin,” Roque said.

 (Come February until June, there are no other brands to choose from. If you don’t want Sinovac, you will not be forced to take it.)

Una pong (The first) 50,000 will all go to health workers. Mauuna po ang priority areas na health workers na mabibigyan (Health workers in priority areas will be the first to receive the vaccine). Pero ang initial agreement po — although hindi pa po ito in a form of resolution — ay uubusin ang lahat ng healthcare workers sa Pilipinas (The initial agreement — although it is not yet in a form of a resolution— is to inoculate all healthcare workers in the Philippines) before we move on to the next sector,” he added.

Since the inoculation program of the government is free and voluntary, those who are included in the priority list who refuse to be vaccinated will have to sign a waiver, particularly the healthcare workers and senior citizens.

They will have to wait for another vaccine along with the general population, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Kung mayroong maa-identify tayong medical frontliners (If there are medical frontliners) for example, who do not wish to be vaccinated, ang mangyayari niyan is, (what will happen is) we will have them sign some sort of waiver or understanding, or a document that they understand the implications of them wavering their slot to get vaccinated,” he said.

“Magiging magulo kung magka-kanya-kanya tayo ng pili ( It would be troublesome if everyone will insist on their preferred brand), then we have to put some order in terms of the queue,” he added.

Meanwhile, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they are willing to be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine. It is approved by the FDA and if they are allowed to be vaccinated according to the prioritization list of the government.

“If we are included in the list of priorities, yes of course. Any type of vaccine as long as it enters the country and it has been issued EUA by the Food and Drug Administration, we are confident that it’s going to be safe and effective,” Vergeire added.

Sinovac Biotech ltd., has yet to apply for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Philippine regulator. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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