Sinovac vax allocation, rollout still under evaluation
MANILA – The specific details of the allocation and rollout of Chinese-donated Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are still under evaluation pending the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group and approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In a statement Thursday, the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 made the clarification, after Malacañang announced that the first batch of Sinovac vaccines, totaling 600,000 doses, will arrive on Feb. 28.
They were also reacting to some reports saying the national vaccination program using the donated vaccines would begin on March 1.
Sinovac’s vaccine, also known as the Coronavac, is the third Covid-19 vaccine to be granted emergency use authorization by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration.
AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines received their EUAs last month.
Troops to pay for other vax if they don’t want Sinovac: AFP
MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday said coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) inoculation is mandatory for all of its personnel but they have the option to choose among vaccine brands other than Sinovac at their own expense.
“Thus, to get inoculated or not is not an option for the members of the AFP, it is a duty. At the most, the exercise of an option will be the option to as to what brand of vaccine they will be availing of, but the cost of which will not be paid by the AFP,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in an online press briefing.
Malacañang earlier announced that the first batch of Sinovac Biotech vaccines composed of 600,000 doses donated by China is set to arrive on Sunday (Feb. 28), with 100,000 doses of which will be given to the Department of National Defense, the AFP’s mother agency.
Aside from military personnel, Arevalo added that their chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana has said that their dependents must be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, those opting for other vaccine brands who decided to forego their inoculation can do so but once they are called to duty to serve as front-liners, they will have no choice but to follow.
With cousin BBM out, Romualdez eyes vice presidency
MANILA — Amid rumors that former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may no longer seek any national office, his cousin House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is reportedly setting his sights on the vice presidency 15 months from now.
Sources said it is uncertain if Marcos will really run for either president or vice president after his “devastating defeat” when the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, finally threw away his electoral protest for the 2016 vice presidential race.
Romualdez is concurrently serving as the Representative for the 1st district of Leyte, a position he previously held from 2007 to 2016. He unsuccessfully ran for senator in the 2016 elections.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo had earlier revealed that even before the 2016 elections, there was talk that Marcos would run for president with Romualdez as his running mate.
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, chair of the House appropriations committee, also confirmed that Duterte was eyeing Romualdez as the administration vice presidential bet when he made the remark on Dec. 28 last year during the signing of the 2021 budget or the General Appropriations Law.
No violation in Cebu’s policy for tourists: DILG
CEBU CITY – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said on Thursday there is no violation in Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s order allowing tourists to only present a medical certificate in entering Cebu.
Densing, in a virtual interview with reporters, said it is “well within her bounds” to release such order.
He said the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu can follow the move of the provincial government requiring only a medical certificate for tourists.
Cebu’s tri-cities, he added, need to issue their respective executive orders to align their guidelines with those of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) with regard to the entry of local tourists.
These executive orders should be submitted to the DILG for review, he said.
Survey sa vaccine para sa medical front-liners ng Maynila isasagawa
MANILA — Magsasagawa ng survey ang pamahalaang lokal rito para sa mga medical front-liners ng lungsod.
Ang inisyatibong ito ni Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, ayon kay Cesar Chavez, ang chief of staff ng alkalde, ay upang malaman kung anong COVID-19 vaccine ang nais na matanggap ng mga healthcare workers.
Sa inisyal na survey, ang mga tauhan ng Manila Health Department o MHD at anim na ospital na nasa pangangasiwa ng Manila LGU ang una nang natanong hinggil sa bakuna.
Batay umano sa MHD, handa nang magpabakuna ang karamihan sa mga medical front-liners ng Sinovac vaccine.
Maging ang mga direktor ng anim na LGU district hospitals sa Maynila ay magboboluntaryo umanong magpaturok ng Sinovac vaccine.
PNP iniimbestigahan ang mga ‘isyu’ sa drug war ops na binanggit ni DOJ chief Guevarra
MANILA – Nagtatag ang Philippine National Police (PNP) ng isang panel na mag-iimbestiga sa mahahalagang isyu sa anti-drug operations nito na binanggit ni Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra sa United Nations Human Rights Council.
Sa isang text message, sinabi ni PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana na bumuo na si PNP chief Police General Debold Sinas ng technical working group noong Pebrero 17 para tingnan ang mga isyung nilabas ni Guevarra.
“The Chief PNP has already designated a technical working group composed of key PNP offices to look into and discuss essential issues raised by the Secretary of Justice,” wika ni Usana.
Ayon kay Usana, ang resulta ng imbestigasyon kasama ang mga rekomendasyon ay isusumite kay Sinas sa unang linggo ng Marso.
Sa kanyang speech, sinabi ni Guevarra sa UN Human Rights Council na maraming baril na pag-aari umano ng mga napatay na drug suspect ay hindi sinuri ng mga awtoridad.
Siquijor gears up for tourism reopening
SAN JUAN, Siquijor – Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Thursday traveled to Siquijor, as part of the ongoing efforts to assist in the safe reopening of tourist destinations in the new normal.
Puyat emphasized the DOT’s thrust to strengthen domestic tourism this year, adding that the department will support Siquijor after Governor Zaldy Villa signified his eagerness to allow tourism in the province.
“As the DOT bids to fully reopen Siquijor to tourism and revitalize this sector, we continue to seek regular discussions with provincial and local government leaders and stakeholders, gaining insight into your preparedness to reopen as well as a deeper understanding of how we can best help industry stakeholders and citizens of your communities,” Puyat said while on the island-province.
The DOT secretary said areas of collaboration between the department, the public, and private sector consist of promotional branding campaigns, funding of the digital version of the province’s Healing Festival, the continuous implementation of public health and safety protocols, development of tourism products, and enhancement of tourism circuits featuring farm, dive, and ecotourism, among others.
Puyat added that ongoing endeavors to gear up Siquijor’s opening include conducting physical inspections on accommodation establishments (AEs) and tourism enterprises. (AI/MTVN)