Sinovac COVID-19 vax arrives in Bangsamoro Region

Robie de Guzman   •   March 4, 2021   •   517

The allocated batch of the donated CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese firm Sinovac Biotech for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has arrived in the region.

In a statement, the Bangsamoro health minister said 4,200 vials of Sinovac vaccines arrived on Thursday at the Cotabato Airport. Its arrival was welcomed by officials of the Ministry of Health and Maguindanao Provincial Health Office.

Dr. Amirel Usman, BARMM health minister, said the vaccines will be administered to 2,100 health personnel in the region.

The vaccination ceremony will be held on Friday, March 5, at the Integrated Provincial Health Office in Maguindanao.

Usman said this is for the first phase of the BARMM’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

Each health worker will receive two vaccine shots with a four-week interval from the first vaccination.

Usman emphasized that health workers in the region, who work both in public and private hospitals, including frontline workers in the ministries of social services, education, and local government, are the top priorities of the vaccination program.

Next are indigent senior citizens, Bangsamoro constituents, and uniformed personnel.

Usman, however, noted that this is still subject to change depending on prevailing situations.

“We have two types of COVID-19 vaccine – the one which can be stored in +2C to +8C refrigerator and the other can be stored in -70C. The challenge for Pfizer is, BARMM still has no capability to store -70C temperature right now,” he said.

Health workers, who are willing to get vaccinated, are advised to sign waivers. However, they also have the option if they prefer another Covid-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or AstraZeneca.

Usman, nevertheless, stressed that the available vaccine at the moment is the “best vaccine” for everyone, highlighting that the vaccination program is part of the government’s preventive measures against the virus.

DOLE to hire additional data encoders for COVID-19 vaccination program

Maris Federez   •   November 17, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday announced that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is in the process of hiring additional data encoders for the COVID-19 vaccination program of the government.

DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the DOLE will open an internship program to train and hire data encoders that will be deployed to the local government units.

The DOLE will initially open 100 slots for data encoders for the LGUs in the National Capital Region that need additional manpower.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology has earlier cited the insufficient number of data encoders as the reason for the delay in the release of digital vaccination certificates.

“Kasi nga po habang tumataas yung ating vaccination we need more encoders to be encoding the vaccination list na pinadala sa DICT at DOH. So, nakipag-ugnayan po tayo sa Department of Labor and Employment at ang maganda naman pong balita ay binuksan po ng DOLE ang kanilang government internship program para po makapag-hire tayo ng additional encoders,” said Malaya. —/mbmf

Japan pledges food aid to Bangsamoro farmers, fisherfolks

Robie de Guzman   •   November 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government of Japan has committed to provide 350 million yen in food assistance to farmers, fisherfolks, and other vulnerable sectors in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), its embassy in Manila said Thursday.

In a statement, the embassy said the grant aid will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP), which will procure approximately 1,788 metric tons of Japanese rice for distribution to beneficiaries.

The project seeks to support around 9,877 farming and fishing households, including decommissioned combatants and indigenous peoples in Bangsamoro.

“To supplement the food and nutrition needs of the targeted population, the Japanese rice will be fortified with iron prior to distribution,” the embassy said.

“Through this undertaking, vulnerable and conflict-affected communities in BARMM are expected to have improved food security, resilience, and livelihood, which will enhance peace and achieve development in the Region,” it added.

The food aid project for BARMM was signed between Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko and WFP Representative and Country Director Brenda Barton.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Foreign Affairs Acting Secretary Theresa Lazaro and BARMM Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform Deputy Minister Ammal Solaiman also witnessed the event.

Duterte OKs postponement of Bangsamoro elections

Robie de Guzman   •   October 29, 2021


MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the law resetting the 2022 elections in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to 2025, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte signed the Republic Act 11593 on Oct. 28.

“Pinirmahan ni Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang Republic Act # 11593 kahapon, October 28, 2021, na nagri-reset po ng eleksyon sa Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao sa 2025,” Roque said.

The law amended the Bangsamoro Organic Law and stated that BARMM’s first regular elections shall be held and synchronized with the 2025 elections.

“Sang-ayon po sa batas na ito, binibigyan ng kapangyarihan ang ating Presidente na mag-appoint ng hanggang walumpu or 80 new interim members of the BTA who shall serve until June 30, 2025 or until their successors shall have been elected and qualified,” Roque said.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will oversee the region until the 2025 polls.

The BTA is a provisional law-making body of the BARMM which is currently under a transition phase.


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