No ‘mismanagement’ in delay of vaccine delivery
MANILA – Malacañang on Monday denied that delay in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines to the country was due to “mismanagement” of the procurement process.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon blamed “mismanagement” of the procurement process as another reason for the delay in vaccine delivery, aside from the absence of an indemnification law.
However, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque disagreed with Drilon’s statement, insisting that the lack of an indemnification law is the only reason for the delay.
Roque said there is a letter from the World Health Organization’s COVAX Facility to prove that the vaccines were supposed to arrive mid-February.
“Well, we obviously disagree and malinaw po iyan ‘no. Mayroon tayong liham, hindi po madi-deny ang liham na galing sa COVAX na mid-February darating iyong Pfizer at saka iyong AstraZeneca (that’s clear. We have a letter, they cannot deny the letter from COVAX that says Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive mid-February),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
NITAG to amend priority list for Sinovac vaccines
MANILA – The interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) will be meeting to discuss changes in the priority list for Covid-19 vaccines developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discouraged its use for healthcare workers and the elderly due to its low efficacy rate, Malacañang said Monday.
Despite discouraging Sinovac vaccines for healthcare workers and the elderly, the FDA granted Sinovac vaccine emergency use authorization (EUA) in time for its expected delivery this week.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he expects the priority list to place uniformed personnel and economic front-liners first and second in line in the government’s vaccination program.
Economic front-liners, he said, refer to workers in industries that were allowed to continue operations even under the most stringent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) quarantine classification.
Currently, healthcare workers and senior citizens aged 60 and above are first and second in line, respectively in the priority list.
COVID-19 update: 2,288 bagong kaso, 33 recoveries ngayong araw
MANILA — Nakapagtala ang Department of Health (DOH) ng 2,288 bagong kaso ng COVID-19 ngayong araw, na siyang pinakamataas na bilang ng kaso sa isang araw mula noong Nobyembre 8 ng nakaraang taon.
Dahil dito, umakyat na ang kabuuang bilang ng COVID-19 cases sa bansa sa 563,456; 28,488 dito ay pawang aktibo pa.
Iniulat din ng DOH na may 33 gumaling sa virus, na nag-akyat sa bilang ng recoveries sa 522,874.
Umakyat naman ang death toll sa 12,094 matapos na pumanaw ang anim katao dahil sa sakit.
Bago rito, binigyan na ng Food and Drug Administration ng Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) ang Sinovac, ang COVID-19 vaccine na gawa ng China.
Bill expediting Covid-19 vax purchase hurdles 2nd reading
MANILA – The House of Representatives on Monday approved on second reading a measure establishing a vaccine indemnity fund and expediting the purchase of vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The chamber passed through voice voting House Bill 8648, or the proposed Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act, which has been certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Under the bill, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) shall be authorized to procure Covid-19 vaccines, including ancillary supplies and services necessary for their storage, transport, deployment and administration, through negotiated procurement under emergency cases as defined in Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The bill also allows local government units and private entities to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers.
The bill seeks to allow LGUs to engage in an advance payment mechanism not exceeding 50 percent of the total contract price for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
Mayor Isko handa nang magpakauna ng Sinovac
MANILA — Handa nang magpaturok si Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso ng bakuna na Sinovac na gawa ng isang biopharmaceutical company ng China.
Ito ay kasunod ng pag-apruba ng Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sa Emergency Use Authorization o EUA ng naturang bakuna.
Kasabay nito, agad na nagpatawag ng pagpupulong ang alkalde (nasa larawan) kasama ang buong Manila City Council (MCC) sa pangunguna ni Vice Mayor Maria Sheilah ‘Honey’ Lacuna-Pangan upang ihayag ang kanyang kahandaan para sa roll-out ng unang bakuna na available sa lungsod .
“Anuman ang bakuna, basta sertipikado at may EUA ng FDA, gagamitin natin. May karapatan kayong maging choosy. Pwede kayo maghintay ng bakunang type ninyo. Pero para sa akin, basta may EUA gagamitin po natin ” ayon sa alkalde.
Villanueva hails passage of labor education bill
MANILA — Senator Joel Villanueva hailed the Senate approval on third and final reading the measure that, if enacted into law, would require tertiary education institutions and tech-voc training institutes to integrate labor education subjects in their general education curriculum.
“We are one step closer to an empowered workforce, one where both employer and employee are informed of their respective rights under the law. Sa ganitong paraan, mababawasan po natin ang mang-aabuso at maaabuso, dahil alam ng isa’t isa ang karapatan nila bilang negosyante at manggagawa,” said Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on higher and technical and vocational education and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1513.
“We often enter the workforce – both as worker and employer – without sufficient knowledge on labor laws to protect and respect labor rights. Lalo na po ngayon sa panahon ng pandemya. Marami pong negosyo ang nagsara, marami pa ang nawalan ng trabaho. At ang ilan sa kanila, hindi na nakuha ang benepisyong nararapat sa kanila,” the former TESDA chief noted. “Ngayong may pandemya, maraming manggagawa ang hindi na lang nagrereklamo. Marami ang binawasan ng sweldo pero walang narinig na angal ang kanilang employer. Okay ng talikuran ang kanilang karapatan basta may trabaho.”
Villanueva said that labor rights violations are rampant in the workplace, and the Labor Education Act or Senate Bill No. 1513, which consolidated related bills on labor education, hopes to address this injustice. The measure will require universities and colleges to integrate labor education into the general education curriculum as an elective. It also mandates TESDA to include labor education in their training regulations.
Imbentaryo ng foreign nationals, ipapatupad ng BI
MANILA — Ipapatupad ng Bureau of Immigration (BI) ang resolusyon ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) ang imbentaryo ng foreign nationals na kasalukuyang nasa mga holding cells nito.
Ayon kay BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, kasunod ng IATF resolution, ang mga ahensya na naglalabas ng visa ay inatasan na magbigay sa BI ng isang listahan ng mga foreign national kung kanino sila naglabas ng mga visa.
“It’s not just the BI that issues visas for foreign nationals. There are a lot of other government agencies that issue visas, without the need for registration with the Bureau. Hence in the past, it was difficult for the agency to come up with a full report on the number of foreign nationals in the Philippines,” saad ni Morente.
Inilahad pa ni Morente na ang nasabing hakbang ay papayagan ang BI na maging central repository ng mga datos ng mga foreign nationals na nabigyan ng visa sa bansa.
“This is a major step for the Bureau, as it has always been a challenge in monitoring aliens,” he shared. “While for the meantime, the data is being transmitted to us manually, we hope that in the future we will be able to automate data sharing,” dagdag pa ng komisyuner. (AI/MTVN)