US provides additional P298-M aid to PH COVID-19 fight
Robie de Guzman • May 7, 2020 • 316
MANILA, Philippines – The United States (US) government has provided an additional P298 million ($5.9 million) to support the Philippines in the fight against novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), its embassy in Manila announced on Thursday.
In a statement, the US Embassy said that the additional assistance brings the total amount of pandemic assistance to the Philippines to more than P768 million ($15.2 million).
As part of this assistance, the embassy said that the US Agency for International (USAID) will partner with 18 local governments to “promote effective crisis management and implement response plans.”
“Funding will support local governments to rapidly disburse emergency funding and supplies, and strengthen the capacity of local crisis response centers to disseminate accurate and timely crisis response information, manage quarantine measures, set up public handwashing facilities, ensure food supply, and support local business recovery,” the embassy said.
Other activities funded through this new assistance tranche will provide supply chain analytics and promote a regulatory environment that facilitates logistics and transportation for food, medical products, and other essential goods.
To assist with small and micro-enterprise recovery, USAID will facilitate access to credit and provide grants and skills training to heavily affected sectors and communities.
“This latest assistance builds on our long-standing relationships with local government units across the Philippines, and represents our continued commitment to our Filipino friends, partners, and allies in this time of crisis,” U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said as he welcomed this new tranche of support to the Philippines.
The US Embassy said this new assistance also includes P44 million ($875,000) from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration for the International Committee of the Red Cross to support COVID-19 response in the Philippines, including increasing stocks of essential medical supplies and expanding hospital capacity, preventing the spread of disease in detention centers, and supporting resilience for vulnerable people and communities.
MANILA, Philippines – Some hospitals in Cebu City are already in critical level amid the surge of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
In a televised press briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Cebu City’s overall health capacity has reached a critical point as many hospitals in the city are already swamped with patients.
“They’ve reached about 80 percent and even more—80 percent last week, pero napababa nila iyon nung nag meeting kami nung Sunday. Parang bumaba ng konti, although nasa critical level pa rin,” Vergeire said.
“So, ngayon pag nakakita tayo ng ganito, binabantayan kaya nga ang decision sa kanila they continue on with enhanced community quarantine,” she added.
The DOH official also noted there are only a few tertiary level hospitals in Cebu City and many are level one facilities that do not have intensive care units.
“’Yung iba pang malalaking ospital sa Cebu ay nandun na sa critical. Marami nang naka-admit, pati mechanical ventilators nila marami na ring gumagamit,” she said.
She cited Chong Hua Hospital, as an example, which is already occupied by 98 percent.
She said that aside from taking care of over 200 COVID-19 patients, at least 238 of its health workers are also currently under quarantine.
Due to this, Vergeire said the DOH is facilitating the augmentation and deployment of additional health workers, including infectious disease consultants, nurses, and military doctors, to Cebu Province to help attend to the burgeoning number of virus-infected patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)
MANILA, Philippines – The Antipolo City government has ordered the lockdown of the city’s public market after 18 of its tenants and vendors tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The lockdown, which started on Tuesday (June 30), would be in effect for two weeks, according to Antipolo Mayor Andrea Ynares.
The patients are now in isolation for mandatory quarantine while disinfection procedures are currently being undertaken within the market’s premises.
Meanwhile, the local government unit has started distributing relief goods to other tenants and vendors affected by the closure.
“Ang amin pong paulit-ulit na panawagan sa atin pong mga kababayan ay sana po sumunod tayo sa mga umiiral na batas ngayon, mga alituntunin,” appealed Relly Bernardo Jr. of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).
[We constantly appeal to our constituents to follow health regulations, follow the law.]
“Siguraduhin po na nakakasunod po tayo sa mga protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng mask, regular hand sanitation, at physical distancing,” he added.
[Always make sure that we are following protocols like wearing of masks, regular hand sanitation, and physical distancing.]
Likewise, the LGU is asking for help from the private markets in the city to conduct COVID-19 tests among their tenants.
The LGU added that private market owners can request from the city hall should they lack funds. —MNP (with details from JP Nunez)
MANILA, Philippines – The Congress is considering three scenarios for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
In an online press conference, Sotto said the Senate and the House of Representatives have been discussing options on how to hold the SONA this year amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Option number one involves conducting a traditional SONA in the Batasang Pambansa, with the president and several members of the legislative branch in attendance but without guests.
Option number two is to have the president deliver his speech at the Malacañang while lawmakers convene in Batasang Pambansa.
Option number three will see the President staying in Malacañang while senators and members of the House convene in their respective session halls.
Sotto believes the Palace will prefer that the address be made in Malacañang to ensure the president’s safety amid the threat of coronavirus pandemic.
“Kung ano ang safest sa pangulo ang primary consideration sa pag-decide sa SONA setup,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)
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