PH gov’t urged to include farmers, fishers in COVID-19 vaccine plan

Robie de Guzman   •   December 22, 2020   •   301

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis Pangilinan has called on the Duterte administration to include farmers and fisherfolks in the list of groups to be prioritized in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

In a statement issued on Monday, Pangilinan pointed out that farmers and fisherfolks are “frontliners too and should be prioritized in the government’s game plan to control COVID, including its plan to vaccinate essential workers.”

“Sila ang nagpapakain sa atin. Hindi ba dapat prayoridad sa vaccination plan ang ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda?” Pangilinan said.

“Biktima na ng pandemya ang kanilang kabuhayan, at pinalala pa ng mga nagdaang bagyo. Pero araw-araw pa rin silang nagbubungkal ng lupa para hindi tayo magutom. Kaya isa yan sa mga tanong na ihahain natin sa Committee of the Whole,” he added.

The Senate adopted on December 14 Pangilinan’s Senate Resolution 594 seeking to convene the Senate Committee of the Whole to look into the government’s vaccination program.

In filing the resolution, the senator emphasized that majority of the farmers and fishers are among the poorest sectors.

“Hindi nila kakayaning makabili ng vaccines kung walang suporta ng pamahalaan. Karamihan din sa kanila ay walang ID, walang access sa mga ospital. Ano ang plano? Paano sisiguruhing maabot sila ng vaccine sa lalong madaling panahon?” he added.

Pangilinan cited the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) report showing losses in agriculture due to typhoons Quinta and Ulysses, and super typhoon Rolly pegged at P12.3 billion.

In Cagayan Valley alone, agriculture damages were at P2.2 billion.

“Konti lamang ang itinaas ng budget ng DA para sa 2021. Maraming kailangang bigyan ng pansin kagaya ng pagpapaigting ng crop protection at insurance schemes upang may sasalo sa pinsalang dulot ng mga sakuna at pandemya. Dapat ipasok din sa usapan na kailangan ng vaccines ng ating mga magsasaka at mangingisda,” Pangilinan said.

The Senate Committee of the Whole is expected to convene in January 2021 before Senate resumes session.

IBP welcomes IATF move to include lawyers in COVID-19 vaccination priority list

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday welcomed the decision of the government’s task force for COVID-19 response to include lawyers in the groups to be prioritized in the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Malacañang earlier announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has listed lawyers under the A4 category which includes frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors.

The Palace said that the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months
  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

“We are thankful that the request for inclusion of lawyers as A4 in vaccine prioritization was favorably acted upon,” IBP president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

“Litigation lawyers, prosecutors, PAO lawyers, and lawyers who are frontliners in the justice/law sector who are at risk of COVID-19 infection should be similarly protected as the magistrates and court employees,” he added.

Cayosa assured that the IBP will “fully cooperate to ensure fair and efficient allocation of vaccines.”

DOH updates guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has revised its guidelines on the government’s COVID-19 vaccination and deployment program.

Under the Department Memorandum No. 2021-0175, the DOH said that individuals who recently recovered from COVID-19 may be vaccinated immediately after recovery or completion of treatment for their first or second dose.

The DOH previously said that persons who tested positive for COVID-19 had to wait for 90 days before they get vaccinated.

This development comes after the country’s vaccine experts panel recommended inoculating COVID-19 survivors 14 days after their recovery.

The new DOH guidelines also state that individuals who were not able to receive their second dose due to medical reasons must coordinate with their respective vaccination sites for the immediate rescheduling of their vaccination.

The agency also said that only individuals experiencing a blood pressure (BP) of 180/120 or higher, with signs and symptoms of organ damage during the screening process, cannot be vaccinated.

“Other vaccine recipients with blood pressure not meeting definitions of hypertensive emergency may be vaccinated,” the DOH said.

The department also emphasized that medical clearance is not required for vaccination, except for individuals with autoimmune disease, HIV, cancer patients currently undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, transplant patients, those undergoing steroid treatment, and patients who are bedridden or with a poor prognosis.

The national government is currently vaccinating persons and workers belonging to A1 (healthcare workers), A2 (senior citizens), and A3 (persons with comorbidities) priority sectors. The Inter-Agency Task Force has also approved the list of sectors that are included in the A4 group.

The DOH earlier reported that over one million Filipinos have been vaccinated against COVID-19 disease.

The agency, however, reminded to continue observing minimum public health standards even after vaccination to curb the transmission of COVID-19.

IATF OKs A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the list of sectors included in the A4 priority group of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program, Malacañang said Friday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the A4 priority list includes the following:

  • Workers in commuter transport (land, air, and sea), including logistics
  • Public and private wet and dry market vendors
  • Frontline workers in groceries, supermarkets, delivery services
  • Workers in manufacturing for food, beverage, medical and pharmaceutical products
  • Frontline workers in food retail, including food service delivery
  • Frontline workers in private and government financial services
  • Frontline workers in hotels and accommodation establishments
  • Priests, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders
  • Security guards/ personnel assigned in offices, agencies, and organizations identified in the list of priority industries/sectors
  • Frontline workers in private and government news media
  • Customer-facing personnel of telecoms, cable and internet service providers, electricity distribution and water distribution utilities
  • Frontline personnel in basic education and higher education institutions and agencies
  • Overseas Filipino workers, including those scheduled for deployment within two months

Also included in the A4 priority group for COVID-19 vaccination are the following:

  • Frontline workers in law/justice, security, and social protection sectors
  • Frontline government workers engaged in the operations of government transport system, quarantine inspection;
  • Worker safety inspection and other COVID-19 response activities
  • Frontline government workers in charge of tax collection, assessment of businesses for incentives, election, national ID, data collection personnel
  • Diplomatic community and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) personnel in consular operations
  • Department of Public Works and Highways personnel in charge of monitoring government infrastructure projects

Roque said the IATF approved the A4 list on Thursday, April 15.

The Palace official likewise announced that the IATF has approved the continuation of the training of the national athletes at the Olympic Training Bubble in Calamba, Laguna as well as the extension of the temporary suspension of foreign nationals until April 30, 2021.

Foreign nationals with valid entry exemption documents duly issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to March 22, 2021 will be allowed entry to the Philippines.

The IATF also approved the extension of the risk-level classification of Quirino Province under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until April 30, Roque said.

 

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