Vince Dizon resigns as BCDA president; still testing czar

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 19, 2021   •   506

Secretary Vince Dizon has resigned as president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

Dizon’s irrevocable resignation, which was already effective on October 15, was confirmed by BCDA executive vice president Aileen Zosa during a budget hearing for the agency at the Senate on Monday (October 18).

“The resignation letter of President Vince Dizon to the President has an effectivity date of resignation on October 15,” she said.

Zosa, however, clarified that Dizon will remain as a Cabinet member, testing czar, and deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19.

“I think it was an irrevocable resignation but he will stay in the Cabinet for the anti-COVID efforts of the government,” she added. AAC

Proseso ng COVID-19 testing bumagal dahil sa dami ng nagpapasuri, nagkakasakit na lab personnel

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Aminado ang pamahalaan na bumabagal ngayon ang proseso ng COVID-19 testing sa mga accredited laboratory at testing facilities sa gitna ng lumulobong kaso sa bansa.

Paliwanag ni Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 response at testing czar Vince Dizon, nagkakaproblema ngayon ang karamihan sa mga testing center dahil bukod sa dami ng mga nagpapasuri ay nagkakasakit na rin medical technician at iba pang tauhan ng mga laboratory.

Kung dati aniya ay inaabot lamang ng 24 oras ang pagproseso sa RT-PCR test, ngayon ay ilang araw ang itinatagal nito bago mailabas ang resulta.

“Ang pinakamabigat dito, kaya humihingi po tayo ng pasensya sa ating mga kababayan, marami po sa ating mga technician, med-tech, mga laboratory technician ay nagpopositibo rin po at sila ay kinakailangang mag-isolate at hindi po sila nakakapag report sa trabaho, yun po talaga ang talagang pinakamabigat na hamon natin ngayon,” ani Dizon.

Sa kabila nito, tiniyak ni Dizon na gumagawa na ng paraan ang pamahalaan para mapabilis ang resulta ng swab tests, lalo na sa Metro Manila kung saan laganap ngayon ang hawaan ng COVID-19.

“’Yun po talaga ang malaking hamon natin ngayon pinipilit po nating mag-activate pa ng ibang mga swabber, ibang mga laboratory technician para po mapabilis natin ang ating mga testing results,” ayon sa opisyal.

“Ginagawa din po natin ngayon sa mga areas na tulad ng NCR na napakadami ng dagsa ng mga nagpapa-test eh yun pong ibang mga samples ipinapadala natin sa ibang mga lugar na hindi pa naman ganun kadami ang nagpapatest para po mapabilis natin ang turnaround time,” dagdag pa niya.

Sa ulat ni Dizon as of January 7 ay umabot sa 81,200 COVID-19 tests ang naisagawa sa loob lamang ng isang araw.

Samantala, muli namang sinagot ng pamahalaan ang panawagan ng ilang grupo na magsagawa ng libreng mass swab testing sa gitna ng dumaraming bilang ng mga nagkakasakit ng COVID-19.

Giit ni Dizon, kailangang risk-based ang batayan sa COVID-19 testing. Wala rin aniyang sapat na pondo ang pamahalaan para sa pagsasagawa ng malawakan at libreng mass testing.

“Unang-unang rason po d’yan ay ang resources, iko-compute natin, assuming na ngayon nagte-test tayo mga 80 to 85,000 a day assuming itaas natin to 100,000 a day times thousand na lang, yung current cap at average ng ating test ng PCR, P200 million po yun kada araw , sa loob lamang po ng sampung araw P2 billion na po yun so talaga pong unsustainable,” ani Dizon.

“At talagang hindi po nararapat dahil gaya po ng sinabi ni [Health] Usec. [Maria Rosario] Vergerie at ni (Infectious disease expert) Doctor [Edsel] Salvana, mag-test ka ngayon ma-expose ka bukas, pwedeng magka-COVID ka pa rin kaya kailangan po talaga risk-based ang ating testing,” dagdag pa niya. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Gov’t to beef up testing, contact tracing efforts amid surge in COVID-19 cases — NTF

Maris Federez   •   January 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 assured the public that the government is ready and prepared to intensify its testing and contact tracing effort against the deadly viral disease.

“Doon naman po sa ating detection, isolation, treatment, lahat po iyan ay automatic na paiigtingin kapag tumataas ang kaso at tumataas ang alert level,” said Secretary Vince Dizon, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 Response.

With the implementation of Alert Level 3 in Metro Manila, Secretary Dizon said that the government will intensify the prevention, detection, isolation, treatment, and reintegration strategy to contain the spread of the virus in the country amid the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Dizon said this is the fourth surge that the country is experiencing.

He is confident that by this time, the country will be able to survive the sudden increase of COVID-19 cases.

Dizon said the Department of Health is also preparing for the distribution of testing kits to laboratories; while the Department of the Interior and Local Government will begin to renew the services of contact tracers.

The government is also in the process of hiring health workers in cases hospitals reach full capacity due to the spike in infections.

Experts are also looking into allowing self-antigen testing to avoid long queues in testing facilities.

“Iyon pong pagbibigay ng personal na responsibilidad sa ating mga kababayan, tingin ko sa halos dalawang taon na nating pinagdadaanan, tingin ko importante rin na i-consider natin ng maigi iyan kagaya ng ginagawa nila sa ibang bansa. Pero pinag-aaralan po iyan ng ating mga eksperto ngayon,” Dizon said.

The testing czar is confident that the country has a sufficient number of laboratories for the influx of individuals undergoing COVID-19 testing. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Aileen Cerrudo)

Solons call on government to fast track response vs Omicron

Maris Federez   •   January 3, 2022

 

MANILA, Philippines — Two members of the House of Representatives have called on the national government to fast track measures to combat the COVID-19 Omicron variant and prevent the rapid spread of the virulent viral disease.

House Committee on Ways and Means chairperson and Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda said that the government must see to it that isolation areas are ready and prepared for the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in hospitals and other health care facilities.

Salceda said treatment facilities and unused isolation centers must be reactivated in preparation for the Omicron variant so that isolating COVID-19 patients will be swift.

“So, if we can isolate the infected and treat them quickly, we should do alright. Of course, that will require some flexibility in treatment capacity again. So, we need to reactivate disused or unused isolation centers in preparation for Omicron,” he said.

The lawmaker said he plans to meet with testing czar Vince Dizon and discuss with the official the capacity of the country’s isolation facilities.

Salceda also called on the Department of Health to expedite the procurement of COVID-19 therapeutics.

He further said that the Lower House is prepared for any amendment in the budget so that the government can purchase needed ventilators and other equipment and medicines in case surges in hospital admission take place.

Meanwhile, BHW Partylist Representative Angelica Natasha Co has called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to immediately release to local government units their share of the approved Php5.024 trillion 2022 national budget.

Co said the budget will be used by the LGUs in distributing free COVID-19 kits to every family in Metro Manila.

“Ang pondong ido-download sa mga LGUs ang gagamitin upang mabilis silang makapagpamahagi ng libreng COVID-19 kits sa bawat household sa buong Metro Manila. Ilan sa dapat maging laman ng COVID-19 kits ang alcohol, sabong panlaba, sabong panligo, mouthwash, at medical grade face mask,” Co said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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