291 repatriated OFWs arrive from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

UNTV News   •   July 21, 2017   •   5892


MANILA, Philippines — 291 overseas Filipino workers from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Thursday.

They were welcomed at the airport by members of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and of the Department of Health (DOH).

The group is the latest batch of OFWs repatriated back to the Philippines after an amnesty was given to them by the Saudi government.

They will receive financial assistance from OWWA.

Meanwhile 63 undocumented OFWs from Sarawak, Malaysia also arrived in the country on Thursday. With them were 11 children.

These OFWs decided to come back to the Philippines upon the instruction of President Rodrigo Duterte because of the danger they might face for staying in Malaysia without legal documents.

“We decided to come back home because we are not safe there. The males have been jobless for several months already. We lived in one house. We all ate the same food,” said one OFW named Amanding.

OWWA will be providing cash assistance to the OFWs.

Also, they will be provided fare to be able to return to their respective provinces.

Those that need plane tickets will be temporarily housed at a halfway home. – Victor Cosare | UNTV News and Rescue


Bicol doctors urge IATF to place entire region under ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2021

Bicol doctors are urging the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place the entire Bicol region under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). This is due to the surge of covid-19 cases in the region.

The doctors in the region said that the minimum health standards are not strictly implemented, contact tracing takes longer, and there are not enough isolation beds. 

A letter was sent to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) in Bicol and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) Bicol urging to place Region 5 under ECQ.

According to Kenn Nuyda of the Department of Health (DOH) Bicol, they had long sounded the alarm before the IATF to have the region, particularly Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Naga City, and Legazpi City, placed under ECQ.

“Matagal ng nag-sound the alarm ang DOH sa IATF. Hopefully this appeal by the PMA Bicol and PCP Bicol ay ma-i-grant ng ating National IATF para po ma-escalate ang quarantine classification ng Bicol Region. By doing so, mas strict or mas magiging rigid ang implementation ng quarantine measures sa atin to control the COVID-19 spread among the population group dito sa Bicol region,” he said. AAC (with reports from Venue Palles)

Lacson bats for vaccine passport system prioritizing OFWs, foreign investors

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday pushed for the implementation of a vaccine passport system that will allow easier traveling to the Philippines for people already vaccinated against COVID-19, especially returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and foreign investors.

In a statement, Lacson said that many returning OFWs and foreign investors are reluctant to come to the country due to tight protocols, particularly those that require them to spend more than a week in a quarantine facility that is “not necessarily of their choice.”

“For our returning OFWs, at most, we might require them to take a swab test then allow them to go home, then require them to stay at home for 10 days. No need to require them to stay at a hotel,” he said.

“Most of the time, OFWs return to the country because of an emergency. But if you are an OFW and you are required to be quarantined for 10 days, how many days of your leave will go to waste? I don’t think that makes sense,” he added.

He also pointed out that the stringent protocols for inbound travelers will make the tourism sector and investment suffer.

“Also, our tourism sector and investment will suffer. If a potential investor who would like to come here learns of the requirements that include a swab test and stay at a quarantine facility, not of his or her choice, would he or she still come?” he added.

The senator urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to “fine-tune the protocols that will address these problems and make sure the protocols are in sync with those of other countries.”

He also stressed the need to allow local government officials and other implementers of health protocols on the ground to have enough leeway to do their job.

Lacson noted that while IATF protocols allow the inoculation of those 40 and up, those a few months short of 40 could be allowed to get vaccinated especially if the facility is not too crowded.

“Perhaps our regulations should be a bit open-ended instead of being too restrictive, to allow those on the ground to make decisions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lacson batted for more solutions in the rollout of vaccines, including the cold chain storage system, to prevent the commodity from spoiling.

“We are getting information that some vaccines are spoiled due to the mishandled cold chain facility. These are issues the appropriate authorities must address so we can accelerate our efforts toward herd immunity,” he said.

DOH warns against faking health conditions for COVID vax

Marje Pelayo   •   June 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  The country’s COVID-19 vaccine supply is hardly sufficient for the entire Filipino population that is why the government is prioritizing the vulnerable sectors first.

However, some people who cannot wait for their turn have no problem with faking comorbidities so that they can jump the vaccination line.

The Department of Health (DOH) warned that giving false health declarations could lead to criminal charges.

“Baka hahanap pa tayo ng ibang batas na pwede nating makita at pwede nating gamitin pero iyong pag nagfa-falsify kasi tayo ng mga sakit natin, katulad niyan it’s going to be on public record. Meron po iyang mga penalties—meron na po tayong vina-violate sa ating mga existing laws in the country,” warned Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Republic Act 11332 of the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act states that offenders would face a penalty of up to P50,000 and imprisonment of up to six months.

The DOH is also looking into other laws that could penalize those who will fake their conditions and claim comorbidities just to get vaccinated.

The DOH said people shouldn’t rush to get the vaccine because once the supply is enough, each and every Filipino will have a chance to receive it.

“So atin pong binabalaan at atin pong binibigyan ng advise ang ating mga kababayan. Don’t go to that strategy. Hindi nyo po kailangan gawin iyan. Maghintay lang po tayo at dadating ang mga bakuna para mabakunahan po tayo lahat,” Vergeire said adding that there is a proper process that each person with comorbidity should go through.

They also need to submit some requirements to assess their conditions before they get vaccinated.

“Kapag po tayo ay nag- masterlist nagsusumite ang ating mga kababayan ng mga kanilang apparent comorbidities. Pagdating nila doon sa vaccination site, we need proof or evidence na kailangan maipakita nila na sila talaga ay may sakit. Ang nirequire natin, kailangan meron silang reseta, kailangan six months before meron silang medical certificate, 18 months before pwede, pwedeng mga laboratoryo,” Vergeire stressed.

“Iyan ay ini-evaluate ng ating screeners and pag nakita nila na hindi sya authentic, and then we will just tell them na hindi niyo pa turn and you you just need to go back. So ganun po yung ginagawa natin,” she added.

Meanwhile, the DOH cannot confirm if all in NCR Plus 8 areas would be completely vaccinated to reach population protection before the end of 2021.

According to DOH, herd immunity is only possible once the supply of COVID-19 vaccines becomes stable.

“Ito iyong focusing on specific areas that will give us more impact in vaccinating. So for NCR plus 8, ito po ang ating ine-estima na hopefully by the end of the year we will be able to achieve depending on the supplies that will come in. Pero ang kailangan nating balikan ding population protection also speaks of as here in the Philippines being able to vaccinate those most vulnerable,” Vergeire said. MNP (with report Aiko Miguel)


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