Poe on alleged deficiencies in DOH fund use: ‘Shouldn’t Duque be suspended by now?’

Robie de Guzman   •   August 18, 2021   •   793

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III should have been suspended following a recent report on the agency’s alleged deficiencies in the use of its COVID-19 funds, Senator Grace Poe said Wednesday.

During a hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Poe recalled an incident where Ombudsman Samuel Martires ordered the preventive suspension of eight PhilHealth executives and five DOH officials last year.

She said the preventive suspension was due to various offenses related to the use of people’s money during the pandemic.

“Shouldn’t Sec. Duque be suspended by now if you’re going to apply the same judgment as what happened to the PhilHealth executives?” she said.

Poe issued the remark after the Commission on Audit flagged the alleged deficiencies in the DOH’s use of P67 billion COVID-19 response fund.

“The fact that we can’t even go out of our homes–are we happy with what is happening? Are the medical frontliners happy with what is happening to them? Somebody must be held accountable,” she said.

Poe said that in the 2020 COA report, a total of P11.89 of funds remained unobligated on top of the P42.1 billion that was transferred to partner agencies without a memorandum of agreement.

“Ito po ay hindi lamang kapabayaan, ito po ay kriminal,” she said.

Duque was present during the hearing but he has yet to respond to Poe’s remark.

The DOH earlier said the funds were accounted for and that it has been addressing the issues flagged in COA’s report.

COA earlier clarified that its observations and findings on DOH’s management of its COVID-19 funds were accompanied by recommendations made by its auditors to rectify the deficiencies.

The commission also stated that its audit report does not mention any findings by the auditors of funds lost to corruption.

PH posts 890 new COVID-19 cases; active infections down to 17K

Robie de Guzman   •   November 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 890 new COVID-19 infections, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed.

In its bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure brought the country’s total of recorded cases to 2,828,660.

Of the total caseload, 17,864 were active infections – 53.4% of which are mild, 21.39% are moderate, 4.8% are asymptomatic, 14.4% are severe, and 6.0% are in critical condition.

Meanwhile, total recoveries rose to 2,763,114 after 1,710 more patients recuperated from the viral disease.

The death toll climbed to 47,682 with 200 new fatalities.

The country’s positivity rate was at 2.5%, based on data gathered on November 22 from 32,254 tested individuals.

Two laboratories were not operational on November 22 while three others were not able to submit their data on time, the DOH said. The five labs contribute on average 1.5% of positive cases and 1.8% of samples tested.

Data from the DOH also indicated that 31% of intensive care unit (ICU) beds for COVID-19 patients nationwide are in use while 29% are utilized in Metro Manila.

Isolation beds nationwide are 28% occupied while 25% are in use in Metro Manila.

Hindi lahat ng A3 sector kasama sa tatanggap ng COVID-19 vaccine booster dose – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Nilinaw ng Department of Health (DOH) ngayong Lunes na hindi pa lahat ng persons with co-morbidities (A3 sector) ang maaaring mabigyan ng COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

Ginawa ng DOH ang paglilinaw sa pagsisimula ng rollout ng booster dose para sa senior citizens (A2) at A3 groups.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ng DOH na ang makakasama lang sa booster dosing sa ngayon ay ang mga persons with co-morbidities na nasa immunocompromised state.

Ibig sabihin, ito ay ang mga nasa immunodeficiency state, people living with HIV, may active cancer o malignancy, transplant patients at mga pasyenteng sumasailalim sa immunosuppressive treatments.

Paliwanag ng DOH, ito pa lamang ang maaaring makatanggap sa ngayon ng vaccine boosters dahil sila ang higit na nangangailangan ng dagdag-proteksyon laban sa COVID-19.

May posibilidad ring bumaba na ang bisa ng bakuna na natanggap nila ilang buwan na ang nakalilipas.

Ayon sa DOH, iaanunsiyo ng National Vaccine Operations Center kung kailan maaaring makatanggap ng karagdagang vaccine shots ang natitirang populasyon ng A3 sector.

Pinapayuhan ng ahensiya ang mga eligible nang tumanggap ng third at booster shots na makipag-ugnayan sa nakakasakop na local government units para sa schedule ng pagpapabakuna.

Paalala rin ng DOH na dalhin ang kanilang ang vaccination card bilang katunayan na sila ay fully vaccinated na at handang tumanggap ng kanilang third dose. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

LIST: Conditions of immunocompromised persons eligible for COVID-19 booster shots

Robie de Guzman   •   November 19, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday released a list of conditions for immunocompromised individuals that will qualify them for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunocompromised persons with the following conditions are eligible for a booster shot:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • HIV
  • Cancer/Malignancy
  • Transplant patients
  • Undergoing steroid treatment
  • Patients with poor prognosis/ bed-ridden patients

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the DOH met with experts on COVID-19 vaccine to discuss and prepare the guidelines for the administration of booster shots for immunocompromised individuals (A3) and senior citizens (A2).

“Gagawin lang po namin ang guidelines and we will be announcing through our National Vaccine Operations Cluster kung kailan po maguumpisa ang pagbabakuna ng booster or 3rd doses para sa ating mga nakakatanda or A2 and those individuals with immunocompromised states,” Vergeire said.

The Philippine government started administering booster shots for fully vaccinated healthcare workers this week.

“There were already 2,488 booster doses administered last Nov. 17 among our healthcare workers. Meron ho tayong kaunti na nagkaroon ng reaction, it’s about 2 percent of all of these,” she said.

“Lahat po ay na-manage accordingly and they were all sent home na they were well. Wala tayong serious na adverse events na naitala para dito sa mga naka-received na ng booster doses,” she added.

Vergeire said that most of the adverse events reported were mild such as headache, elevated blood pressure, fever, and pain on the injection site.

She stressed that healthcare workers are not required to get an additional vaccine dose.

Vergeire also reminded the public that the booster dosing is not yet recommended for the general public, adding that its implementation to other priority groups will be done in phases.

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