Rules on use of e-cigarette, vapes out next week – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   May 30, 2019   •   3651

FILE PHOTO: An exhibitor staff member uses an electronic cigarette at Beijing International Vapor Distribution Alliance Expo (VAPE CHINA EXPO) in Beijing, July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is looking to release an order detailing the regulations on the use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vapes next week, a health official said on Wednesday.

Health Assistant Secretary Atty. Charade Mercado-Grande said in a press briefing that the DOH’s Executive Department is poised to sign the order which may be released in the first week of June.

The move follows the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to regulate or ban the use of e-cigarettes and related products once it is proven that these also contain cancer-causing chemicals that are found in traditional cigarettes.

“There’s no total ban, but more of regulation. That’s what we will do for now,” Mercado-Grande said.

The DOH explained that they are still in the process of examining all the chemicals used in e-cigarettes and vapes before implementing a total market ban.  

“I’ll check on the classification if it is considered as pharmaceutical or what is the specific qualifications of the chemicals but definitely anything that we put in our body especially when there are studies that prove they are harmful to health, the DOH must do protective measures,” Mercado-Grande said.

The Health department further stated they are now working with the Department of Finance (DOF) for the proposed imposition of tax on e-cigarettes and vapes.

But DOF Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua admitted that gathering data for the proposal is a bit of a challenge as the country has no existing policy about its use.

“This is a less regulated market and unlike cigarettes outside the factory, there is the BIR that monitors. Because excise works like this: When a product goes out of the factory, pay tax. These are largely imported, so we are working to understand the market better,” he said.

Chua said they are working to propose to the Senate to include e-cigarettes and related devices among the products on which to impose excise tax.

“Eventually, we will see a shifting from the traditional cigarette to the e-cigarette and the moment. We determine the health risk. We will, of course, propose the appropriate tax so I think the funding will continue,” he said.

Based on their proposal, the funds expected to be collected from the additional tax will be used to finance the implementation of the government’s Universal Health Care program. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

DOH asks Comelec to find alternative ways for COVID-19 patients to vote

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find alternative ways on how COVID-19 patients can cast their vote in the 2022 national elections.

DOH Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated that they will not allow COVID-19 patients to leave isolation to vote in the upcoming elections. She said this might lead to increasing the risk of virus transmission to other voters.

“Kailangan din isaisip dapat may alternative tayo for those who are COVID-19 positive para po sa botohan na ito. Alam po natin na ang isang positibong tao kapag lumabas po ng isang kwarto o ng isang lugar ay maaaring makahawa ng ibang tao, (We also need to look into alternative ways for the COVID-19 positive voters in this election. We do know that positive patients, once they leave their room or an area, can infect others)” she said.

The DOH official suggested going digital or online for COVID-19 patients.

“Sana po Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for those COVID-19 positive patients baka pwede naman pong virtual na lang, digital through SMS kung makakagawa po tayo ng ganitong proseso dahil talag ang ang Department of  Health po ay hindi po natin inirerekomenda na ang mga COVID-19 positive patients ay lalabas po ng kanilang isolation area to do this kind of activity, (I hope Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for  COVID-19 positive patients. Maybe it can be done virtually, digital through SMS if such a process can be done because the DOH will not recommend for COVID-19 patients to leave the isolation area to do this kind of activity),” Vergeire said.

Meanwhile Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez previously said that it would be a challenge to find alternative methods for COVID-19 patients to vote, however, he said the Comelec en Banc will discuss the process on how it can be done.

There are currently no guidelines allowing patients to vote in polling centers. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

 

DOH: Quarantine alert levels system, posibleng ipatupad na rin sa mga lalawigan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Posibleng ipatupad na rin sa iba pang lalawigan ang ipinaiiral ngayong quarantine alert levels system sa Metro Manila.

Ayon kay Department of Health (DOH) Spokesperson Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, maaaring simulan ang sistema sa ibang probinsiya bago matapos ang buwan ng Setyembre.

“Pag nakakita tayo ng positibong resulta dito sa ginagawang pilot implementation, we may be able to roll it out to the rest of the country at maybe towards the end of September,” ani Vergeire.

“Every week, we will be assessing so that we will see yung progress natin. Ano yung pwedeng baguhin, ano yung pwede na nating i-retain, ano ang mga metrics na dapat pag-aralan at ano pa yung ways moving forward. So, it’s until Sept. 30,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ngayon aniya ay tinututukan ng DOH ang epekto ng granular lockdowns sa ilalim ng alert levels system sa hawaan ng COVID-19 sa Metro Manila.

Sa tala ng DOH, nakakapagtala pa rin ang bansa ng mahigit sa 20,000 libong kaso sa isang araw dahil na rin sa pagkalat ng COVID-19 Delta variant.

“Ang alert level po dynamic iyan, nababago-bago po iyan. Hindi po iyan pwedeng mag stick ng dalawang linggo at hindi natin binago. Maaari po na after one week, mabago ang alert level. So we will be adding or we will be subtracting from this specific responses na meron tayo kaya po nagpa-pilot o sinusubukan,” ani Vergeire.

Kapag natapos na ang pilot implementation ng bagong alert level system sa Metro Manila ay ihahayag ng DOH ang mga ginamit nilang sukatan upang tukuyin kung ano ang kanilang batayan sa alert level classification na ipinatutupad sa isang lugar. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

 

COVID-19 vaccination at vaccine cards para makapasok sa trabaho, hindi mandatory – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Muling nilinaw ng Department of Health (DOH) na hindi maaaring gawing sapilitan ang pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ginawa ng DOH ang pahayag kasunod ng hakbang ng Davao City government na gawing mandatory ang pagbabakuna sa mga empleyado ng city hall.

Sa executive order na nilagdaan ni Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, sakop nito ang mga volunteer, contact of service workers, plantilla at job order. Ang mga susuway sa kautusan ay maaaring maharap sa parusa.

Ayon kay DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, labag sa batas na gawing sapilitan ang pagbabakuna alinsunod sa nakasaad sa Republic Act (RA) 11525 o ang pagtatatag ng COVID-19 vaccination program ng pamahalaan.

“Hindi po natin inirerekomenda na maging mandato o obligado ang isang empleyado na bakunado siya para siya ay magkaroon ng trabaho makapasok sa kaniyang trabaho,” ani Vergeire.

Nakasaad din sa naturang batas na hindi maaaring gawing requirement sa hiring o employment purpose ng isang indibidwal ang vaccine status nito o kung meron itong hawak na vaccine card.

“Nakalagay din po sa batas na RA 11525 na ang vaccine cards shall not be considered as additional requirements for employment purposes. So maliwanag po ito sa ating batas that vaccination is not mandatory,” ani Vergeire.

Gayunman, hinihikayat naman ng kagawaran ang mga nasa priority sector na magpabakuna na para na rin sa kanilang proteksyon laban sa COVID-19.

“But of course, we highly encourage people to get vaccinated pero hindi po dapat natin gamitin ito para maging purpose o makapasok ang isang tao sa trabaho,” dagdag pa ng opisyal.

Babala ng DOH, maaaring maharap sa parusa ang sinumang lalabag sa batas pati na ang mga mamemeke ng vaccine cards. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

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