Vaccination, not a requirement to vote — Comelec

Maris Federez   •   October 25, 2021   •   204

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) maintains that there is no law that requires a person to get vaccinated first before he or she can vote in the May 2022 national and local elections.

According to Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Atty. Teofisto Elnas, a voter will not be asked to present his vaccination card come election day.

“Lalo na ina-anticipate natin na on election day na meron at meron pang walang vaccination or yung mga taong hindi nagpa-vaccine for whaterver reason makakaboto pa rin sila and they are not to present ‘yong vaccination card,” Elnas said.

Comelec spokesperson Director James Jimenez, meanwhile, said there is no alternative way for a confirmed COVID-19 positive patient or those in an isolation facility to vote during the elections.

“Paano naman ‘yong may mga sakit din? May pneumonia, may cancer? Hindi naman sila makakaboto. So if you’re sick, we recommend that you stay for treatment or if you are contagious, stay away from people. I think that’s, shall we say, fair,” Jimenez said.

The poll body, however, said that they are willing to extend the voting hours so that more voters will be given the opportunity to cast their votes.

“Just in case at the end of the voting hours meron at meron pa ring mga botante na nakapila or mga botante within the voting center, uubusin yan hanggang matapos yan. Tatapusin yan. So, in effect mag-i-extend tayo ng voting hours natin,” Elnas said.

Comelec reminds voters that wearing face masks and face shields will be strictly implemented on election day.

Voter registration is still ongoing until October 30.

As of September 30, Comelec has recorded 63 million registered voters. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

Solon calls for immediate EUA approval of molnupiravir

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson Joey Salceda on Thursday called on the Food and Drug Administration for the immediate approval of the emergency use authorization of COVID-19 retrovirals like molnupiravir.

Salceda said the opening of the economy will depend on the efforts of the government to not just prevent the spread of the virus but to eventually end it.

The lawmaker noted that some medical experts believe that it is possible that the day will come when COVID-19 may just be a seasonal disease that can be treated at home.

Economic managers, Salceda said, recommend that the government must take a new approach and focus on coming up with measures to treat COVID-19 the way common flu is treated.

“Recently, the economic managers have said that the approach must now shift from pandemic to endemic. That involves a shift from mobility restrictions that try to completely prevent any infection, to an approach that treats COVID-19 as a very normal, as normal as getting a flu,” Salceda said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

COMELEC, Palasyo may apela sa publiko kaugnay ng political caravans

Robie de Guzman   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines ­– Umapela ang Commission on Elections (COMELEC) at Malakanyang sa publiko ng patuloy na pag-iingat sa gitna ng patuloy pa ring banta ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

Ginawa ng mga otoridad ang panawagan kasunod ng pagdumog ng maraming tao sa political caravan na isinagawa kamakailan ng tandem nina Bongbong Marcos at Sara Duterte sa kahabaan ng Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Batay sa mga lumabas na video at larawan, tila hindi na nasunod ang physical distancing at iba pang health protocols sa nasabing aktibidad.

Maraming motorista rin ang naapektuhan dahil sa pagbigat ng daloy ng trapiko.

Ayon kay COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez, hindi exempted ang mga pulitiko sa istriktong pagsunod sa health protocols upang maiwasan ang muling paglobo ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa.

“Sakop pa rin sila ng rules na yan. Nagpapaalala ang COMELEC, ‘wag ninyong i-endanger ang inyong mga supporters, because that’s what you are doing. Just so you want your crowds, your photo-ops, you are endangering the lives of the Filipinos who are supporting you,” ani Jimenez.

Payo naman ni acting presidential spokesperson at Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles sa mga pulitiko at partido, makipag-ugnayan muna sa mga lokal na pamahalaan upang magkaroon ng crowd control.

“Obviously, yung situation we are still on a public health emergency, we all have to be careful and all of these moves have to be coordinated para hindi naman masyadong magulo, hindi magkakaroon ng untoward incident. There are mechanisms in place pero kailangan lang talagang to follow these mechanisms,” ani Nograles.

Magugunitang nagpaalala na rin ang Department of the Interior and Local Government sa mga pulitiko at party-list na hindi pa pinapayagan sa ngayon ang political rallies.

Maaari lamang silang magsagawa ng special gatherings pero dapat ay may pahintulot ito ng lokal na pamahalaan at nasusunod ang allowed venue operating capacity at public health standards.

Papayagan rin ang political caravans basta’t naipapatupad ang physical distancing at gagawin ito sa limitadong oras.

Una nang humingi ng paumanhin ang kampo ni Bongbong Marcos sa mabigat na trapikong idinulot ng kanilang caravan matapos magpahayag ng pagkadismaya ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Quezon City sa umano’y kawalan ng koordinasyon ng mga organizer ng Marcos-Duterte caravan. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NCR hospitals report decreasing number of COVID-19 patients

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Several hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) have reported a significant decrease in the number of patients admitted due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPi).

PHAPi president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano said a number of private hospitals nationwide, particularly in Metro Manila, have reported not having COVID-19 patient confinements.

Hospitals that still have COVID-19 patients are of non-severe cases.

“Karamihan sa kanila halos kung hindi man zero, it’s less than 5 or 2 na nga lang yung iba eh. Meron din talagang zero or wala na. And yung cases nga, hindi na kagrabe katulad nung iba dati,” De Grano.

De Grano added that half of the more than 600 PHAPi member hospitals have recorded low COVID-19 admissions.

This, De Grano said, allows hospitals to focus their attention on non-COVID-19 patients.

“Yung mga private hospitals ngayon, nakaka-concentrate kami on non-COVID cases. But still, we are prepared just in case magkaroon tayo ng maraming COVID cases ulit,” he said.

“Mas nakakarelax ang ating healthcare workers, doctors and nurses. Actually, ang pino-focus nila ngayon is ang vaccination,” he added.

However, he warned hospitals not to be too complacent as there are still hospitals outside of the nation’s capital that still have COVID-19 cases.

He, nevertheless, assured that private hospitals are ready and prepared to accept COVID-19 patients, if and when warranted.

Meanwhile, government hospitals have also reported a decreasing number of COVID-19 patients admitted.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) has reported that the number of COVID-19 cases confined in the hospital has reduced to only 18, with only one patient in the intensive care unit (ICU).

NKTI executive director Dr. Rose Marie Rosete-Liquete added that the hospital now has only one health worker under quarantine.

“Ang admission namin is zero to one a day. The past weekend, zero zero eh. Yesterday, one-one. Malaking bagay na nakababa kumpara before na nag-100 plus cases kami,” Liquete said.

“Malaking bagay na ito, nakakahinga na sila. Nakakahinga na kami,” she added.

Liquete said several rooms that have been transformed into COVID-19 rooms are not back to being non-COVID rooms.

The Philippine General Hospital, as of December 5 announced that the hospital now only has 59 COVID-19 patients confined.

Despite this development, PHAPi appealed to the government to keep the country under alert level 2 until the end of the year.

The group also reminded the public to still observe minimum health protocols at all times.

“We should still be careful dahil nandiyan pa rin ang COVID. Sakaling magkaroon tayo ng pagtitipon, kung maaari siguro sa close relatives na lang o sa family na lang. At iwasan na po natin yung maraming masyadong pagtitipon ng sa gayon ay ma-enjoy natin ang ating vacation,” De Grano said.

Liquete, on the other hand, advised the public to stay away from big groups. She also called on those who are not yet vaccinated to receive their jab.

“Iwasan ang big groups, at saka for those who are not vaccinated, magpabakuna na po,” Liquete said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

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