PNP backs DOH’s recommendation to keep PH under COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021   •   192

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has expressed support to the recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) to keep the country under Alert Level 2 amid the declining cases of coronavirus infection.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said the existing alert status in the country should not be downgraded yet due to the looming threat of the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The time isn’t ripe yet since it’s the holiday season and we have observed more people becoming complacent to go outdoors, disregarding health protocol, and unmindful of the risks,” he said.

He also believes that a shift to a more relaxed quarantine level will affect the compliance of the public to minimum health standards.

Carlos, however, said that the PNP will abide by decision that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases on the implementation of COVID-19 alert levels system.

“The local government units are vested the authority to issue Executive Orders that police personnel are duty bound to enforce,” he said.

Metro Manila is under Alert Level 2 until December 15. Other areas in the country have also been placed under the same level.

The DOH earlier said that the IATF is still discussing whether or not to lower the alert level in the capital region.

Self-test kits na aprubado ng FDA, mabibili lang sa mga otorisadong drug outlets – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Maaari nang mabili sa mga lisensiyado at aprubadong drug outlets ang dalawang brand ng COVID-19 Antigen Self-test kits, ayon sa Department of Health (DOH).

Ito ay matapos aprubahan ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ang aplikasyon ng special certification ng dalawang kumpanya para sa self-test kits na tinatawag na Abbot’s Panbio at Labnovation Technologies SARS-CoV2 Antigen rapid test.

Una nang iniulat ni FDA officer in charge Oscar Gutierrez na nabigyan na ng sertipikasyon ang dalawang brand at maaari nang gamitin sa bansa.

“Ang Panbio COVID-19 antigen self-test kit ng Abbot available po siya sa 1, 4, 10, and 20 tests per box. At yung SARS-CoV-2- antigen rapid test ng Labnovation Technologies Incorporated ito po ay self-test for home use din. Available po siya ng 2,5, and 20 tests per box,” ani Gutierrez.

Pero paalala ng Department of Health na may tamang proseso at panahon ang paggamit ng self-test kits upang masegurong tama ang ilalabas nitong resulta.

Ayon kay Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, mas mainam gamitin ang self-test kits kung may sintomas ang isang tao upang matiyak na accurate ang resulta ng kit.

“Please use it rationally, use it at the right time at tamang proseso. Ibig sabihin gagamit lang po kayo ng test kapag kayo ay nakakaramdam ng sintomas dahil ang antigen test po ay most accurate pa rin kapag kayo po ay nakakaranas ng sintomas dulot ng COVID-19,” ani Vergeire.

Ang panawagan naman ng Infectious Diseases expert na si Dr. Rontgene Solante, bigyang-prayoridad sa paggamit ng test kit ang mga may sintomas at nasa vulnerable population gaya ng mga matatanda upang agad malaman ang kanilang kondisyon at malapatan ng karampatang lunas.

“I-prioritize natin ang paggamit nitong antigen test doon sa mga may symptoms at vulnerable population. Bakit? Because these are the population that are kailangan na kung mag-positive meron tayong gamot na mga anti-viral or monoclonal antibodies para hindi po lalala ang mga infections nila to severe COVID at hindi sila maho-hospitalize,” ani Solante.

May pagkakaiba rin ang Antigen self-test kits sa rapid test kits na kalimitang ginagamit sa mga ospital at laboratory kaya payo ng DOH sa publiko na basahing mabuti ang instructional manual na nakapaloob sa bibilihing test kits.

“Ang kaibahan nito ay iyong pong specimen na kinokolekta. Ito pong mga self-administered test kits usually would have nasal specimens po ang kinukuha. Ibig sabihin kapag nasal specimen, di ganun kalalim sa inyong ilong ang pagkuha ng specimen for this test kits compared doon sa current na kailangan na guided siya ng health worker at mas malalim ang kinukuhang specimens para rito,” ang paliwanag ni Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH na ang self-test kits ay available lamang sa mga otorisadong botika at hindi maaaring bilhin online.

“Bumili lamang ng self-administered test kits na aprubado nf FDA o galing po sa mga FDA-licensed drug outlets para lagi po tayong makakasiguro ana ito ay ligtas at lagi po tayong makakaseguro na makakapagbigya ng accurate na resulta,” ani Vergeire.

Paalala rin ng DOH sa publiko na i-check ang expiration date ng self-test kits at itago ang opisyal na resibo ng botikang pinagbilhan nito.

Sa ngayon ay isinasapinal na ng DOH ang guidelines, kaakibat ang evaluation ng Research Institute for Tropical Medicine at FDA hinggil sa COVID-19 self-test kits.

“Ang kagawaran namn po ng kalusugan are on our final stages dito po sa pagssusulat ng polisiya at guidelines kung paano natin gagamitin ito sa mercado,” ani Vergeire.

“Siguro po within the week makakapaglabas na tayo nitong guidelines natin,” dagdag pa niya.

PNP, ginunita ang kabayanihan ng SAF44 sa ika-7 taon ng Mamasapano clash

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Ginunita ng Philippine National Police (PNP) ang kabayanihan ng 44 miyembro ng Special Action Force (SAF) na nagbuwis ng kanilang buhay sa Mamasapano clash noong 2015.

Sa ika-pitong anibersaryo ng insidente ngayong Enero 25, muling sinariwa ng PNP ang sakripisyo ng SAF 44 para sa kapakanan ng mas nakararami.

“Exactly seven years ago, these modern-day heroes, donned with their fighting gears, reinforced with their commitment to bring lasting peace to the nation and most of all embraced with their faith to God, they partook in a one-way road towards ensuring peace and order in the country which is exactly the same road to led to the gate of heavens,” ang wika ni Polic Brigadier General Felipe Natividad, ang director ng PNP-SAF.

Ayon kay Natividad, buong tapang na hinarap ng mga nasawing SAF troopers ang bakbakan kaya dapat lang na mapahalagahan ang kapayapaang tinatamasa ngayon.

“’Ihandog ang iisang buhay,’ from the last phrase of the PNP Hymn, PNP Lingkod ng Bayan. This is the very phrase that our Gallant SAF 44 to whom we offer our tribute today, held in their hearts and placed the greatest possible meaning to it. With courage & commitment, they accomplished their mission even though it costed their very lives,” ang pahayag ng opisyal.

Para naman kay Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, mahal ang naging kabayaran para magkaroon ng kapayapaan at mamuhay ng walang takot ang pangamba ang mga kababayan natin lalo na sa bahagi ng Mindanao.

Masusuklian lamang aniya ang sakripisyong ito kung hindi gagawa ng anumang labag sa batas ang mga Pilipino, lalo na ang mga pulis.

“They paid the highest cost for the prizes that we enjoy today the gift of living in peace and liberty, part far from harm and free from fear. We repay them and honor their ultimate sacrifice by following their example enforcing the law those who do wrong and ensuring that we ourselves do no wrong,” ani Guevarra.

Sinabi rin ng DOJ chief na naisampa na ang mga kasong direct assault with murder laban sa 88 akusado sa pagpatay sa 44 SAF troopers.

“These cases have been filed not only for exact punishment for the wrongs committed against the 44 whose heroism we remember today, more than exact punishment these cases manifest our trust in the supremacy of our laws,” ani Guevarra.

Magugunitang noong Enero 25, 2015, sinalakay ng SAF ang ilang barangay sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao kung saan nagtatago ang mga wanted na terorista. Isa sa mga subject ng operasyon na si Zulkifli Binhir alyas Marwan ang napatay pero hindi na nakalabas ng buhay ang SAF troopers nang tambangan sila ng umano’y mga miyembro ng Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters at private armed groups sa lugar.

Si Marwan ay sinasabing Indonesian terrorist at bomb maker na wanted rin sa ibang bansa.

Maliban sa SAF44, 17 miyembro ng MILF rin ang nasawi, tatlo ang sibilyan at hindi natukoy na bilang ng Muslim rebels.

Sinasabing ang kawalan ng koordinasyon kaugnay ng operasyon, alinsunod sa kasunduan ng MILF at ng pamahalaan, ang naging dahilan umano ng pagkakaroon ng engkwentro.

Kinuwestyon noon ang sinseridad ng MILF sa pakikipagkasundo sa pamahalaan dahil sa presensiya ng mga terorista sa mga lugar na sakop ng grupo.

 

NCR reaches peak of COVID-19 cases — DOH, OCTA

Maris Federez   •   January 24, 2022

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) and the OCTA Research Group are in agreement that the National Capital Region (NCR) has reached the peak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

The two agencies said the number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila is now expected to go down come February.

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said this development is brought about by the consecutive days wherein the 7-day average growth rate in the NCR has been seen to go down.

“Lumalabas nag-peak na at nakikita natin ilang araw nang sunod sunod na bumababa ang kaso ng NCR at lumiliit ang porsyentong iniaambag nito sa ating total case load,” Duque said.

Meanwhile, the latest projection of the OCTA Research Group showed that the growth rate of the virus in Metro Manila has decreased to -50 and the production rate has slowed down to 1.03.

OCTA said they expect the COVID-19 cases in the region to go down in the coming weeks.

OCTA fellow Prof. Guido David said that based on their monitoring, Metro Manila has reached its peak of COVID-19 cases on January 10, wherein the number of positive cases in the region breached the 18,000 mark.

“Simula January 14, masasabi natin na patuloy nang bumababa yung bilang ng kaso hanggang sa ngayon. Kahapon nga 5,000 na lang. So malaki na ang ibinaba from 18,000 down to 5,400. Ang laking improvement,” David said.

“At kaya nga yung projection natin hopefully patuloy na yan hanggang Valentines, baka less than 1,000. Baka end of February baka less than 500 na lang. At mababalik na natin yung kalagayan natin tulad nung nakita natin nung November and December sa buong bansa. Pero sa Metro Manila pa lang yan,” he added.

Based on their study, OCTA said that COVID-19 cases in the NCR will go down to as low as 1,000 by February.

This data, the group said, may be used by the government in determining whether to place the region under a more relaxed alert level restriction.

However, Duque said that this development is not yet a parameter to come up with the decision to ease the alert status in the NCR to Alert Level 2.

This, he said, still calls for the review and consideration by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Pero paguusapan pa rin yan mamaya sa IATF or rather on Thursday. Baka kailangan na kailangan ay tingnan na rin kung talagang malinaw na ang health care utilization ay nagkaroon na ng pagbabaklas o decoupling. Kumbaga tumaas ang kaso okay pa yung mga severe critical nasa baba so may decoupling, kung tawagin. Baka pagusapan yan pwede na at mababa to alert level 2,” Duque explained.

He added that based on the DOH monitoring, the hospital bed and ICU utilization in the NCR is now at low risk.

On the other hand, such is not the case in areas outside the NCR.

Duque said, healthcare utilization rate in several areas of the country are now at high to critical risk which the IATF is closely monitoring.

Meanwhile, OCTA Research also reported that decreasing COVID-19 cases are also recorded in the provinces of Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

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